APPOMATTOX, Va. – From patriotic music and flags, to the reading names of those who died in combat; American Legion Post 104 in Appomattox honored those who made the supreme sacrifice.
With the pomp and circumstance front and center, Roberta Stewart stood behind the crowd while grieving over her husband, Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart, who was killed in action on September 25, 2005, along with four crew members from Nevada.
Stewart, a 17-year Army veteran who died in Afghanistan, was 35 years old.
The Gold Star wife said Memorial Day is not only about remembering, but also educating.
“Today’s important to teach the grandchildren and my children what Memorial Day is, to stand up for the freedoms we have and the freedoms that our soldiers died for,” said Stewart.
Ronald Krauklis, American Legion Post 104 Commander, said having younger generations involved is vital to helping veterans groups maintain membership.
“The younger generation doesn’t want to be part of an organization. You get the younger soldiers in the military, and they’ll join the organization as long as they’re in the military. The minute they get out of the military, then they no longer want to be part of the organization,” said Krauklis.
Their hope is that young people in attendance, like 17-year-old Trevilyan Torrence, make sure patriots of the past aren’t forgotten in the future.
“Being here today shows that not only does the generation that went through it understand [the sacrifice], but younger generations also understand what it means,” said Torrence.