Pastor Don Dennison emphasized the importance of patriotism and service to country during his Memorial Day address in Albion Monday.
More than 200 area residents and visitors attended the annual program on the courthouse lawn.
Pastor Dennison began by reciting the poem, “Flanders Fields,” and explaining that each generation is asked to carry the torch of freedom that was preserved by their forbearers.
More than 1.3 million American military personnel have died while serving their country since the United States declared its independence in 1776, Dennison said.
“Each time our country has been threatened, the American government has called upon its young men and women to serve,” he said. Despite a terrible cost, they have stepped forward, he added.
“As terrible as war is, it would be even more terrible for good people to do nothing in the face of a threat to their country,” he added.
Dennison, who served in a U.S. Navy flight crew for the Chief of Naval Operations in the 1970s, noted that many servicemen and women in the Vietnam War era did not return from war. For those who did survive, their hearts and minds were affected by their wartime experiences.
“We must remember all of those who served and their sacrifices,” he said. “If not for their service, we may not have the freedoms we enjoy today.”
The effort by patriotic Americans to remember and honor their veterans helps to make America a nation worth fighting for, Dennison said. He encouraged each generation to continue passing on the values of patriotism to succeeding generations.