This Memorial Day, take a moment to honor our past Lycoming County residents who served their country.

Memorial Day – originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Seventy-Nine years later, the Mountain Beach Veteran’s Athletic Association in South Williamsport held a Gold Star Memorial Service at the First Presbyterian Church in Williamsport to commemorate the memories of the 341 Lycoming County residents who died while serving their country in World War II.

Gathering information for this printed program was not easy. Information was obtained from official government sources and from the relatives of the men and women involved.

Few copies of the paper program exist today. To ensure this piece of our history survives a Virtual Memorial to those men and women has been created on the James V. Brown Library’s website.

This permanent online monument allows relatives, friends and co-workers to search the site by name. The site is interactive to allow friends and family to add comments about the heroes and heroines who never experienced their grateful nation’s thanks.

Did you know 60 Lycoming County residents died as a result of the Korean War?  They were “hometown kids who stood tall in America’s uniform,” as observed by President Obama when he honored two army privates, a Maui soldier and one from New Jersey, killed in that war with posthumous Medals of Honor.

To make sure the sacrifices made by these men and their families are not forgotten the Korean War Veterans of Lycoming County, Inc., compiled a commemorative book detailing the military history of these men.

Researched and compiled by George P. Wolfe, the booklet is based on the work of volunteers Wilbur Emig, Robert Dauber, William Witmer and Fred Schaefer who searched the microfilmed newspapers at the James V. Brown Library for obituaries.

The library has scanned the complete contents of the 82-page book and is accessible for viewing on the library’s webpage.

Please take a moment and visit these virtual memorials at www.jvbrown.edu – go to site menu – information services – and click on “In Memory of Our Honored Dead – WW II Memorial” and “Lest We Forget – Korean War Memorial”.

Freedom is not free – it comes with a price.  These men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.  Let’s honor them by remembering their lives – this Memorial Day weekend.