A stone memorial located just outside the Mifflinburg Area High School could have easily been forgotten, left to fade mostly unnoticed into the landscape where it has stood for 100 years.
Fortunately, administrators, teachers, staff and students at the high school, along with the mayor and local historian, did not to allow that to happen.
On Thursday, the memorial — resembling a tree stump with five names etched onto a scroll — was rededicated during a special ceremony held 100 years to the day that it was first placed in Mifflinburg.
The memorial honors five local men killed in World War I: C. Oscar Yoder, Ralph Searson, Luther Dersham, Wayland Catherman and Thomas Clapham.
The ceremony started with the school’s choir singing “The Star Spangled Banner” as members of the Mifflinburg American Legion and VFW presented the colors.
Approximately 700 high school students gathered in the school’s auditorium as Mifflinburg Historian Matthew Wagner offered brief biographies of the five men whose names appear on the memorial, first dedicated on May 30, 1919.
Wagner noted that the memorial resembles a tree stump, symbolizing young lives cut short by World War I — the massive four-year conflict that claimed the lives of more than 16 million soldiers and civilians from 1914 to 1918.
The memorial rededication came at an appropriate time, just days after Memorial Day and one week before the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of the most decisive and deadly battles of World War II.
Mifflinburg Mayor David Cooney, who read a proclamation during the rededication ceremony, said the event underscores the importance of helping young people understand the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in service to the country.
Similar memorials are located in nearly every community and cemetery. As the Mifflinburg Area High School rededication ceremony illustrates, the stories of people, their bravery, their heroism and their sacrifice are etched into stone and must continue to be shared with new generations of Americans. We cannot allow any of it to fade into the landscape.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.