The Bolivar-Harpers Ferry District Veterans once again sponsored their annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony on Monday. The group is comprised of veterans from all around Jefferson County and beyond.
The parade, which travels from the post office in Harpers Ferry to Harpers Ferry Middle School is led each year by members of the Jefferson High School Junior ROTC. In addition, members of the middle school's marching band provide musical entertainment as they march ahead of the town mayors and the honored veterans.
Serving as guest speaker for the event was Command Sergeant Major retired Darieus A. ZaGara, who spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army. He served in all levels of command through the nominative (executive) level, his final assignment as the CSM 7th Army and Joint Multinational Command in Europe.
He had several specialty assignments including serving as a CSM in two of the three enlisted commands in the military service where he maintained oversight of the Army's sneior enlisted education programs analysis, development and delivery. He served as a multinational advisor and held multiple positions of responsibility throughout his military career.
ZaGara currently serves as Section Chief for the Advanced Training Center/Customs and Border Protection in Harpers Ferry.
ZaGara offered remarks Monday honoring not living veterans, but those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. He shared numbers with the audience of those who gave their lives in any given armed conflict the United States has participated in, from the Spanish American War, the Civil War, World War I and II all the way up to and including the Afghan conflict. He choked back tears as he mentioned the numbers lost in Vietnam and Korea, the Gulf War and Beirut.
ZaGara called for unified support of the soldiers defending the nation who often don't agree with political positions or even what the potential conflict is about; however, he said, those soldiers all take the same oath to support and defend the country. Ending his speech, he shared the oath in its entirety so that all would know what the commitment is for a soldier.
Following the event, members of the Veterans group provided hot dogs for all who wished to remain and visit with them. ZaGara took time to greet each veteran including two World War II veterans, Agatha "Pete" Murphy and Esther Briny who are faithful members of the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry group.