Chapel of Hope hosts 2013 Memorial Day Service
Sailors, Marines, family and friends paid their respects to those who served and sacrificed their lives for the country during the Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka 2013 Memorial Day ceremony held at the Chapel of Hope, May 27.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formally known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.
After an introduction and extensive historical background of Memorial Day by Legalman 2nd Class Petty Officer Stephanie Rosario Perez, guest speaker, Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Japan Commanding Officer, Capt. Robert Johnson, took the stage.
“In our family, the Johnson household, we have always placed special significance to this holiday, Memorial Day,” said Johnson. “We consider it as one of our three most meaningful-Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Perhaps similar to many of you here, our family takes time on this day to talk about the themes of service and sacrifice; telling stories of people we know and how they have served this country.”
Johnson spoke of the sacrifices made by those who served before. Johnson began with Army Capt. Miguel Albano Castro, a World War II health physician who was killed in 1943 as he tended to 18 soldiers suffering from malaria in a barrio in Isabela where he operated a field hospital.
Then there was Navy Lt. Kylan Alexander Jones-Huffman, an expert in multiple languages who was killed by a gunman in Hillah, Iraq in 2003.
In the eyes of Johnson, both men embodied the commitment and valor needed to serve as proud American service members.
“We who wear the uniform have an obligation to be ready to pay the ultimate cost when our duty demands it,” said Johnson. “We must be ready, should the time come, to be the next link in the unbroken chain of service members who have served this nation gallantly and bravely.
“And so today, and everyday, let us all remember our fallen comrades who, through their sacrifice, have touched us all,” Johnson continued. “Let us live our lives so as to be worthy of the gifts of freedom and happiness bestowed upon us. And, let us pass on the stories of courage, duty, and service so as to inspire the next generation and the generations that follow after that.”
Upon the conclusion of the ceremony, those in attendance took the opportunity to share what Memorial Day meant to them.
“I feel so honored to be a part of this,” said Rosario Perez. “It makes me think of family members who have passed on and served for our country. It allows me to remember them knowing that they served with dignity and honor, and that their contributions to our country will not be forgotten and as a third generation Hispanic American, I feel privileged to follow in their footsteps.”