Hubbard assembles to honor the fallen

HUBBARD — A small crowd joined military veterans under a cloud swept sky in Hubbard’s Union Cemetery on Monday morning to honor the dead, and approximately 200 people did the same at the war memorial at Tylee Park.

Rows of miniature American stick-flags waved in the strong breeze as people visited the graves of lost friends and family and then gathered as standard bearers from the Hubbard VFW Post 3767, wearing white shirts and carrying the American flag, paraded into the cemetery. Behind them, VFW members marched in formation with ceremonial rifles over their shoulders. The Hubbard High School band and flag-waving majorettes followed wearing the blue shirts of their school colors.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the band played the national anthem and Joe Spurio of Hubbard sang “God Bless America.” The invocation was spoken by Pastor Rob McFarland of Chestnut Ridge Church of God, and the benediction was delivered by the Rev. Sam Mohn of the Coalburg United Methodist Church.

“Thanks for those who gave their very lives for this great land,” McFarland said. “We echo the sentiments of the song we just sang: God bless America.”

A ceremonial wreath and two flowers were placed by VFW members at the foot of the cemetery’s American flagpole in honor of the fallen.

Danny Scarmack, a senior at Hubbard High School, delivered a speech. Scarmack was accepted into the United State Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he plans to study aerospace engineering.

“It meant a whole lot to me. It was big for me to be able to honor those who came before me,” Scarmack said, “especially as I move forward into this next stage of my life to honor the ones who are leading me.”

The speaker of the ceremony services was Caroline Capuzello, a senior class officer at Hubbard High School. She will graduate in the spring and plans to attend Youngstown State University to study English and hopes one day to be an English teacher.

The VFW riflemen fired three shots, and Jack Corbett, a Hubbard sophomore, and Caleb Elliott, a junior, played “Echo Taps.” Taps is the famous bugle call that signals the end of the day on military installations. When the call is played with a second trumpet echoing the first, it symbolizes respect for fallen veterans.

Don Papa, who has spent his life in Hubbard except for service in the engine room of a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, lost a first cousin in the Vietnam War and served at the same time as his four brothers. “It means so much to me, we have lost so many people,” Papa said of the holiday, “and this really means something to us.”

The parade left the cemetery and traveled down West Liberty Street to the war memorial at Tylee Park in downtown Hubbard. Two vintage World War II-era Jeeps followed the flag bearers as the band played “America the Beautiful.” People watched from their porches and front yards, and many trailed after the Hubbard majorettes, essentially becoming part of the parade.

At the war memorial, the names of fallen soldiers from Hubbard were read aloud by Bobby Orr, an infantry squad leader who served in Vietnam and is now the senior vice commander at Post 3767. With each name, Swede Zetterquist, an Air Force veteran who also served in Vietnam, saluted and said, “Absent.”

The trumpeters from the Hubbard band played “Echo Taps” again, this time with junior Miles Harvey on the echo.

McFarland ended the ceremony with a benediction. “We show our gratitude for those who have gone before,” he said. “We offer our hope for those yet to come. As we honor the past, help us to dream of a future of love and peace.”

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