Seaford holds Memorial Day services, special guests attend in memory of Marine
By Lynn R. Parks
Two Marines who were with Lance Cpl. Rick James when he was hit by gunfire in Ramadi, Iraq, on May 13, 2006, attended this year's Memorial Day service in Seaford.
'I was with Rick James until he took his last breath,' Capt. Jeshua Alston told the crowd of people who were gathered in Kiwanis Park on Monday. 'He stood for everything that is honorable and good in this world. And until his death, he honored the Corps' three values, honor, courage and commitment, as any good U.S. Marine would.'
Alston is now stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, S.C. He was accompanied on Monday by Jose L. Tasayco, who attained the rank of corporal before leaving the service.
'They came a long way to honor our fallen,' master of ceremonies Lt. Pete Bohn told the crowd.
'The Seaford community appreciates you being here today,' state Rep. Dan Short told the two men. 'I know that the families that we honor on the day also appreciate that you took the time to be with us.'
Seaford's Memorial Day celebration got underway with a parade that marched down Rodney Street to Kiwanis Park. Bands from Seaford High School and Seaford Middle School provided the cadence for the marchers, who included Mayor David Genshaw and members of the Seaford City Council.
In remarks to the crowd, Genshaw reflected on the similarities between the deaths of Jesus Christ and of U.S. service members. 'For Christians, salvation is free, but it cost Jesus everything,' he said. 'Servicemen and women whose lives were cut short sacrificed their lives for our gift of freedom.'
Genshaw also thanked the veterans in the audience. 'For those of you who have served, and for your willingness to die, we are here to honor you and your selfless sacrifice,' he said. 'You did what you did, not because of some future book deal or movie, but because it was the right thing to do.'
State Sen. Bryant Richardson talked about ways American citizens can honor the war dead. 'We can show our appreciation by continuing to stand for the principles upon which our nation was founded,' he said. 'Our Constitution reflects the key principle in the Declaration of Independence, that our rights come from God. We must continue to honor God and his son.' We should also make 'sure our country never forgets the sacrifices made on our behalf.'
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Major William M. Fleetwood, a veteran of the Vietnam War and retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army. He said that members of the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces 'are all comrades in arms' who 'respect each other.' And he told the crowd that the U.S. 'has the most awesome military on the planet.'
'If we don't want anyone to touch us, it's not going to happen,' he added.
Among the members of the audience at the ceremony were four brothers of the Spicer family. Shelley and Jennings served during World War II, Arnold served after the war was over and Maynard was in Korea during the war there. During the ceremony, Shelley read aloud the names of the Seaford men who were killed during World War II.
Also there was veteran Sam Mellin, 92, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II's Pacific Theater and is a former commandant with the Seaford chapter of the Marine Corps League. He and the league's state commandant, Chuck Landon, fastened a ribbon on a memorial plaque to honor deceased veterans.
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Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.