EAST VINCENT - An estimated 100 guests attended the Fourth Annual Southeastern Veterans' Center (SEVC) Memorial Day Service in Spring City Sunday afternoon.

Held in Tilghman Circle in front of the center, several members of the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) Post 31 of Spring City were represented, including post commander Frank Thees, who welcomed everyone to the service.

"Today is the day that we, as a nation, remember our veterans, who paid the ultimate price so we, as Americans, can have a free nation," said Thees, to rousing applause. "It seems that a couple of terrorist organizations have caused this list to grow over the past few years. But let me say this to those cowards, that if they think they will succeed in taking our freedom away, well, you are wrong today, tomorrow and forever.

"You will never be successful, for we are Americans. We back our troops and we sincerely thank and remember those who made the supreme sacrifice, that we as a nation may enjoy the liberty and freedom that we do today."

Following the presentation of colors, and raising the American flag by VFW Post 31 members, the National Anthem was played by "O'Such Rhythm & Music."

Ryan Costello, chairman, board of supervisors, East Vincent Township, read a proclamation by Governor Ed Rendell, stating that all citizens "reflect on the sacrifice of our soldiers and the burdens our veterans have carried in the name of freedom."

"I've been to this service all four years," said Costello. "My father was in the military, so I come here to honor what he's done for our country, and to represent East Vincent Township as well. It was a privilege to read the Governor's proclamation."

Father Donato Silveri, chaplain, SEVC, reminded everyone that history will repeat itself if everyone doesn't wake up.

"September 11, 2001, was hardly the beginning, because the war in which we fight today is the longest in human history," said Silveri. "It's time to learn from history, and not repeat its mistakes. We want to be able to see the stars and stripes every morning. We are a nation under God! Give us the strength so we remain the land of the free."

With "Amazing Grace" played in the background, Frank Kollar of SEVC read the names of comrades who had passed during this past year, while the C Batter First Battalion 213th Pennsylvania National Guard provided a 21-gun salute.

After the playing of "Taps" and the wreath laying ceremony, the 30-minute service concluded and everyone adjourned into the center for refreshments.

Kollar said the turnout for the service was excellent, and the addition of the 21-gun salute was a nice touch.

"Everyone looks forward to this service," said Kollar. "We get a bigger turnout every year. The service was simply wonderful."

Thees said this year's service was streamlined so the money they saved could go towards the families of service members around the holiday season. Thees also spoke of the current Iraq situation and President George Bush.

"We need to back our troops and the President," said Thees. "Stop playing Saturday night quarterback because they need to know that they have our support. We have to back those who are taking care of business - right or wrong - and we have to take a stand.

"The focus right now should be on the troops, and not the political backbiting. I've been there and I know what it's like to be shot at."

Thees served onboard the USS Lloyd Thomas during the Vietnam War.

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