This week began with Memorial Day on Monday, a day to remember fallen American heroes. Another important day of remembrance happens this Sunday. That's the anniversary of D-Day, the Allies invasion at Normandy, a big step toward the eventual victory over Hitler and his Nazi empire.
We shared photos of the Memorial Day weekend observances at the VFW and in downtown Lincolnton earlier in the week. The Lincoln Herald's Thomas Lark shared the following about the observance in Stanley:
Monday marked a solemn occasion at the Stanley Cemetery.
The historic graveyard, some 200 years old and adjacent Christ’s Lutheran Church, was host to a great throng of people on hand to observe Memorial Day in somber ceremony. The event also featured the unveiling of a new flagpole memorializing the many military veterans buried there, according to Bob Mahovsky of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund.
The group’s president, Mahovsky spoke further about the event on Wednesday. He noted that members of the Gaston County Honor Guard were on hand to deliver a 21-gun salute. The seven marksmen fired their rifles thrice in a tribute to the 141 veterans, from the American Revolution to the more recent Afghanistan War, buried in the Stanley Cemetery. Members of the honor guard presented the colors, raised Old Glory upon its new pole and played “Taps” to honor and remember the veterans who gave their all for God and country.
The invocation was given by Rev. Wesley Frye, pastor of Christ’s Lutheran Church. During the ceremonies, speakers included State Rep. John Torbett, who also led the audience in saying the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Stanley Mayor Steven Denton spoke about the massive numbers of veterans who have given their lives in wars fought by America since its foundation. Rev. Danny Penny of Stanley Pentecostal Holiness introduced special guests.
These included Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger and Stanley Town Council members Cathy Kirkland, Jimmy Ingold and Leigh Anna Helms. Also recognized were Rev. John Mayberry of the Revival Tabernacle and Stanley Police Department Detective Judy Billings, who is also a leader of the local chapter of the American Heritage Girls. Other guests included Colin Withers, owner of the Woodshed Restaurant, and Tommy Deese, treasurer of the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund.
Mahovsky explained some of the history of the cemetery and the critical need for funding to maintain it. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was led by singer Stefanie Helsel, a member of the Pentecostal Community Center. The benediction was given by Rev. Dan King, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Stanley.
The keynote speaker was retired command sergeant major Russell Stalvey, who spoke eloquently of the importance of Memorial Day. Stalvey gave examples of many heroic works done by many veterans across the globe. The audience of more than 150 citizens was captivated by his presentation. Many spoke with him after the celebration, taking pictures of him either individually or in group shots.
It was, said Mahovsky, “a terrific expression of appreciation and wanting to remember him and his comments.”