Area veterans hope local residents fall in line Monday to celebrate the selfless sacrifices of the fallen.
The American Legion is organizing a Memorial Day ceremony, which will take place at 11 a.m. at the All-Veterans Memorial at the corner of Railroad and Randolph avenues, organizer Mike Cardinal said.
"There's an old saying that goes, 'if you can read and write, thank a teacher, but if you can do it in English, thank a veteran," said Cardinal, who is the third vice commander and Christmas Basket Dinner organizer for American Legion Post 29.
"There's a lot of people who laid down their lives so we could speak English and practice our religious beliefs as we choose and it was because of the veterans who have fallen that those freedoms have been secured for us," Cardinal said.
Monday's ceremony will feature guest speaker Jonathan Schafler, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and the state ombudsman director for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Highland Adventist School is tentatively scheduled to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner," and commanders of the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 812, Elkins Marine Corps League Detachment 956 and the American Legion Ladies' Auxiliary will lay wreaths on the memorial.
"The VFW is providing the firing squad and bugler to render honors," Cardinal said, "and American Legion members and other veterans will conduct the presentation of the flags."
Cardinal is a Navy veteran who visited 72 countries while serving actively for 23 years. He's crossing his fingers that members of the public show up to support his peers who lost their lives in battle.
"There are a lot of people who guaranteed our freedoms," he said. "We (veterans) did a job that others decided that they didn't want to or couldn't do. We put our lives on the line because somebody had to do it."
Ed Griesel, another Navy veteran who plans on attending the Memorial Day service, worries that Monday's crowd will be thin.
"I just hope people show up and give credit to the people who have died in service to the country," Griesel said.