Fairview Cemetery continues 25-plus year tradition of Memorial Day Services
Terry Welch, St John Vietnam Navy Veteran, has been in charge of planning the Memorial Day service at Fairview Cemetery in St. John for about the last 25 years. He said he does not remember exactly how many years, but he knows it has been a long time. Welch said, “I do this every year to memorialize people I know who have been killed in war, men and women.” He knew several of those honored at the ritual on a personal level, including his father who, though not killed in war, was also a veteran.
The basis form of the service was created by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for several people to perform. Welch said, “There is never a full complement of people to do the full service as written.” They make do with the people they have available to make the ceremony meaningful for the community. Welch recognized Ronnie Prescott and Mark Norton as key helpers for this year’s service. Nine people in total were involved this year, including a firing squad of three which fired three guns three different times for a nine gun salute.
The service was held on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Although there was rain in the area during the ceremony, it was not pouring down rain. Unfortunately, David Cutright from SSC TV Channel 3, St. John, was unable to cover the event.
“There was enough rain,” said Cutright, “that we could not take our equipment out.”
St. John resident Melissa Long was there for the ceremony and took a number of photos during the event.
“A nice crowd gathered to remember those who fought and died for our freedom.”
Long has lived in St. John for 12 years and has attended several of these observances over time. She said her patriotic presence was, in part, to honor her step-brother who is now serving in the Navy.
“Even with the rain, it touched my heart to see so many locals out to support it," she said. "The cemetery was beautifully decorated. I especially noticed the many United States flags flying tall and proud."
Long’s appreciation for the annual memorial service was summed up with these words, “Thank you to all who have served and lost their life for our freedom. Lest we forget.”