Memorial Day at Waterville

Randy Firoved, Jared Homad and Brad Jones presents the gun salute during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Waterville Cemetery. Ceremony organizer Jim Bone is to the left of the men. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

 

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

After a weekend of rain, the sun was out on the morning of May 27 and a group of people gathered at Waterville Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

The ceremony included an opening, an invocation, the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance, music, a guest speaker, the raising of the flag, a firing squad, taps and a benediction.

According Bob Clements, who was master of ceremonies, Tom Petersen and Ken Willms have been providing music for the event for over 40 years. This year they had some help.

Dakota Grillo, a Waterville School third-grader, sang “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. Grillo said that she knew the song sometime before, but memorized it especially for this performance. Those present loved her musical contribution and gave her a hearty round of applause.

Ken Firoved, a retired U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran and a 1968 Waterville High School graduate, was the guest speaker. Firoved talked about the importance of having young people willing to join the armed forces, and of the importance of remembering those who return disabled or who give the ultimate sacrifice.

“I know that Waterville is a community that does not forget,” Firoved said.

This year’s firing squad consisted of Randy Firoved, Jared Homad and Brad Jones. Firoved is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. He said he feels it is an honor to take part in the firing squad.

“There are a lot of them that didn’t come back,” Firoved said of those who served during the Vietnam War.

Brad Jones, a cousin of Firoved, is also an Army veteran.

“It’s a phenomenal event to come and be part of,” Jones said.

The weapons used by the firing squad are 1917 vintage.

Clements reminded those in attendance that organizers are not getting any younger and asked for more volunteers that could help set up flags in future years. He also reminded those present of the financial difficulties that the cemetery is facing with high water costs and the failure of the cemetery levy that was run in 2018.