WARRENSBURG -Facing a large, solemn crowd gathered at the Warrensburg Cemetery, Memorial Day Parade Marshal Bill Lamy stepped to the microphone and talked about the service men and women who gave their lives in the name of freedom.
"It is most difficult to adequately express the thanks that we all owe the courageous men and women who have died so that we may be free," he said.
Our nation's great military heroes are also indebted to these front-line soldiers, he said, including 27 from Warrensburg who gave their lives in the line of duty.
"The key to their success was based on the sacrifices made by the 27 soldiers from our town and the sons and daughters of every small community across our country who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the quest for freedom and peace," he said.
The nature of this sacrifice becomes very clear when we we personally know a soldier who was killed while on duty, Lamy said, recalling particularly Fred Flynn and Clark Barlow, young Warrensburg men who were killed in Vietnam.
"They left home as boys to serve our country, under the stress of combat they much too quickly grew to be men, and they left this life much too young," he said.
Lamy said he, as a 10-year-old boy, looked up to Clark Barlow who at the time was a successful high school wrestler.
"Clark was a star athlete with a chiseled body," Lamy recalled. "He went to Vietnam and returned home to the sound of Taps," Lamy said. "I played baseball and soccer with Freddy Flynn - he was the life of his class and Warrensburg High in the mid-1960s - his smile and laugh were contagious."
Lamy noted Flynn died in October 1968.
"It's been 42 years, but Fred's family and friends still remember when he returned home to the sound of Taps."