Memorial Day in Portville - Chestnut Hill Cemetery
May 26, 2008
MEMORIAL DAY SPEECH:  PORTVILLE, N.Y., 2008
presented by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Trietley, ROTC, Saint Bonaventure University

GOOD MORNING!  I WANT TO START BY THANKING MR. BUD ELLERS AND THE
MEMBERS OF THE PORTVILLE AMERICAN LEGION FOR THEIR KIND INVITATION TO
ADDRESS YOU TODAY AS YOUR MEMORIAL DAY GUEST SPEAKER.   I HAVE WORN THIS
UNIFORM NOW FOR 22 YEARS AND IT IS INDEED AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE TO
SERVE OUR GREAT NATION AND OUR CITIZENS AS A UNITED STATES ARMY OFFICER.  
AND I KNOW THAT I SPEAK FOR ALL SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WHEN I SAY THANK
YOU FOR REMEMBERING OUR FALLEN BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR
UNTIRING SUPPORT OF OUR MILITARY, AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENDANCE AT
TODAY’S MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY.

IN CEREMONIES ALL ACROSS OUR NATION TODAY, COMMUNITIES PAUSE AND PAY
TRIBUTE TO OUR CITIZENS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES DEFENDING EVERYTHING
THAT WE AS AMERICANS CHERISH AND HOLD DEAR.  OUR COUNTRY HAS DONE THIS
FOR OVER A CENTURY AND A HALF.  AND THIS GREAT COMMUNITY OF PORTVILLE,
NY, IS NO DIFFERENT.  IN FACT, WHEN YOU STUDY THE PROUD HISTORY OF
PORTVILLE YOU QUICKLY COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT ITS CITIZENS HAVE
ALWAYS ANSWERED OUR NATION’S CALL TO DUTY, AND UNFORTUNATELY, MANY
HAVE PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE IN PRESERVING OUR WAY OF LIFE.   I RECENTLY
CAME ACROSS A COPY OF THE BOOK,
PORTVILLE GOES TO WAR, PUBLISHED IN 1998,
WHICH CHRONICLES THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE PORTVILLE COMMUNITY TO WORLD
WAR II.   AS I READ THIS BOOK, I WAS BOTH AMAZED AND IMPRESSED BY THE STORIES
OF INDIVIDUAL SACRIFICE, AND THE STORIES OF HOW THIS SMALL TOWN CAME
TOGETHER AND CONTRIBUTED SO MUCH TO THE NATIONAL WAR EFFORT.  THREE
HONOR ROLLS WERE ESTABLISHED TO RECOGNIZE THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO
SERVED IN WWII; THE MAIN SETTLEMENT HONOR ROLL, THE PORTVILLE VILLAGE
HONOR ROLL AND THE WESTON MILLS COMMUNITY HONOR ROLL.  OVER 200 NAMES
ARE DEPICTED ON THESE HONOR ROLLS; 200 NAMES – THAT IS TRULY REMARKABLE
WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE SIZE OF THIS COMMUNITY.    AMONG THOSE LISTED ARE
THE NAMES OF AT LEAST 14 PORTVILLE CITIZENS WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WWII;
FRANCIS H. AYERS, LAWRENCE B. CARTER, JAMES R. DUDLEY, CLEO J. FOSTER JR.,
DONALD HURLBURT, VIRGIL C. KINNEY, JOHN JOSEPH KLIST, STANLEY JOSEPH KUSH,
EUGENE CYRIL LEWIS, MARION ARTHUR LEWIS, GEORGE MALLORY, JAMES NICHOLS,
ANDREW JOHN POCKALNY, AND GEORGE THORNTON.  THIS COMMUNITY’S SONS;
FRIENDS OF SOME OF YOU HERE; KNOWN BY MANY OF YOU; AND I’M SURE,
REMEMBERED BY ALL OF YOU.  NO, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE AND THESE MEN
UNDERSTOOD THAT SACRIFICE WAS NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT THOSE THAT THEY
LOVED IN PORTVILLE, NY, COULD LIVE A SAFE AND PROSPEROUS LIFE, AND ENJOY
THE RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS THAT COME WITH BEING A UNITED STATES CITIZEN.  
ALL OF YOU ALSO KNOW THAT WWII WAS NOT THE ONLY WAR THAT HAS AFFECTED
THIS COMMUNITY.  PORTVILLE HAS MOST LIKELY SENT ITS SONS AND DAUGHTERS
TO EVERY WAR IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY.  AS I SCAN THE AUDIENCE TODAY, I’M
SURE THAT VETERANS FROM THE KOREAN WAR, THE VIETNAM WAR, THE FIRST GULF
WAR AND THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR ARE REPRESENTED AMONGST OUR RANKS.  
IT IS EVEN POSSIBLE THAT VETERANS OF GRENADA, PANAMA, AND SOMALIA MAY BE
PRESENT.  IN FACT, IT WAS ONLY A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, THAT ANOTHER OF
PORTVILLE’S SONS, MICHAEL MCGREEVEY, LOST HIS LIFE SERVING OUR NATION IN
THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR.  YES, THIS COMMUNITY HAS DONE ITS PART IN
DEFENDING OUR NATION AND I’M SURE IT WILL CONTINUE TO DO ITS PART IN THE
FUTURE.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO TODAY AS AMERICANS TO HONOR OUR SERVICEMEN AND
WOMEN WHO HAVE PAID THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR OUR WAY OF LIFE?  THE FIRST
THING WE CAN DO IS TO ENSURE THAT WE CONTINUE TO REMEMBER AND HONOR
THEM.  A CEREMONY LIKE THIS IS IMPORTANT BUT IT IS ONLY ONE DAY A YEAR.  WE
MUST ENSURE THAT THEIR STORIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE PASSED DOWN TO
OUR CHILDREN SO THAT THEIR MEMORIES MAY LIVE ON EVERYDAY.  OUR CHILDREN
NEED HEROES AND ROLE MODELS AND I CAN THINK OF NONE BETTER THAN THE MEN
AND WOMEN LISTED ON THE MEMORIALS AND HONOR ROLLS IN THIS COMMUNITY.   
WE MUST ALSO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE PROUD MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE
FIGHTING OUR NATION’S WARS TODAY IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.  IT IS AMAZING
WHAT A CARE PACKAGE OR LETTER FROM HOME CAN DO FOR A SERVICEMAN’S
MORALE AND SPIRIT WHEN THEY ARE DEPLOYED IN HARM’S WAY.  JUST KNOWING
THAT THE FOLKS BACK HOME CARE AND SUPPORT YOU IS ALL THAT ONE NEEDS TO
KEEP DOING THE CHALLENGING AND DANGEROUS WORK THAT IS REQUIRED TO
DEFEAT THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA INSURGENTS WHO WISH TO DESTROY THE
AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE.  FINALLY, WE MUST ENSURE THAT WE SEPARATE THE
POLITICS OF WAR FROM OUR SUPPORT OF THE TROOPS.  AS CITIZENS OF THE
GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD, IT IS EACH OF OUR RIGHTS TO DISAGREE
WITH THE POLITICS OF WAR AND WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE FIGHTING A WAR
IN IRAQ.  HOWEVER, IT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE TO NOT SUPPORT OUR SERVICEMEN
AND WOMEN WHO ARE FIGHTING THESE WARS.  REMEMBER ALWAYS THAT THEY ARE
ONLY DOING THE DUTY THAT OUR NATION HAS ASKED THEM TO DO.  OUR ELECTED
OFFICIALS DECIDE WHEN AND WHERE WE DEPLOY OUR FORCES, OUR SERVICEMEN’S
JOBS IS TO FIGHT AND WIN THESE WARS – NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.  OUR
SERVICEMEN DESERVE 100% SUPPORT FROM THE HOMEFRONT AND OUR DUTY IS TO
PROVIDE IT EACH AND EVERYDAY.

I’D LIKE TO CLOSE MY REMARKS WITH A QUOTE FROM PORTVILLE RESIDENT,
RICHARD LEWIS.  MR. LEWIS’ BROTHERS, MARION AND EUGENE WERE BOTH KILLED IN
THE WANING MONTHS OF WWII.  WHEN SPEAKING OF HIS BROTHERS, HE STATED,
“THE LITTLE MAN GETS OVERLOOKED SOMETIMES.  THERE ALWAYS WILL BE PEOPLE
WILLING TO STAND UP – LIKE MY BROTHERS – AND LAY DOWN THEIR LIVES SO OTHER
PEOPLE CAN LIVE.”  MY CHALLENGE TO ALL OF US ON THIS MEMORIAL DAY IS SIMPLE;
WE MUST DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO ENSURE THAT THE LITTLE MAN DOES NOT GET
OVERLOOKED.  WE OWE AT LEAST THAT MUCH TO OUR BRAVE SERVICEMEN AND
WOMEN!

AGAIN, IT HAS BEEN AN HONOR TO SPEAK TO YOU TODAY.   I HOPE THAT YOU WILL
CONTINUE TO ENJOY THIS MEMORIAL DAY.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND GOD BLESS
EACH AND  EVERYONE OF YOU!
The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
Portville, NY 14770

www.portvillehistory.org