Croton and Hartford Township and the village of Johnstown took time to remember veterans on Memorial Day with jet flyovers, a Big Red Band patriotic medley and rifle volley salutes by American Legion Post 254.

Croton and Hartford Township and the village of Johnstown took time to remember veterans on Memorial Day with jet flyovers, a Big Red Band patriotic medley and rifle volley salutes by American Legion Post 254.

In Croton, master of ceremonies Jack Debolt said it's important to remember those who sacrificed their lives so American citizens can enjoy their everyday freedoms.

Eva Marie Wolfe, minister of the Croton United Methodist Church, said she has a special reason to honor Memorial Day because of her nephew, T.J.

"When T.J. graduated, he joined the Army Reserve, and his unit was deployed to Iraq," she said. "He was assigned to work at a palace. He was bored, so he volunteered for convoy duty."

At the time he volunteered for the dangerous duty, Wolfe was teaching Sunday school, where they prayed every week for T.J.

"He finished his tour in the Reserves and joined a regular Army unit," she said. "He was sent to Iraq again. We prayed hard again, and he arrived home safely."

Her nephew married between tours of duty, and his wife developed ulcers from worry.

As a result, T.J. joined the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard.

"They are the oldest active duty guard, existing since 1784," Wolfe said. "It's one of the most prestigious because of what they do. They have unique duties, like guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Old Guard serves at funerals in Arlington National Cemetery."

Each member of the Old Guard must have a spotless record because its purpose is to showcase the Army to U.S. citizens and the world, and to defend the dignity and honor of fallen comrades, Wolfe added.

"We have a small part in recognizing the mission of the Old Guard, thanking those who served and especially remembering those who died so we could live in freedom," she added.

From Croton's town square, a police cruiser, members of American Legion Post 254, the Northridge High School Band and village residents marched to the cemetery for the placement of a memorial floral basket.

Youths carried flags and small flower bouquets to be placed on the graves of veterans.

As guests arrived at the cemetery, two jets from the Ohio Air National Guard flew over at about 10:40 a.m.

"I made the request in February for the flyover," Debolt said. "With budget cuts, it's nice they believe this is important enough. I'm grateful a community as small as ours can still request a flyover and get that."

Johnstown's American Legion Post 254 provided a rifle volley salute in Croton, then immediately proceeded to Monroe Township's Green Hill Cemetery for a service they sponsored there.

Pastor Michael Rector noted that more than 1- million men and women gave their lives so citizens could gather together on Memorial Day.

"This weekend, we should decorate our homes with red, white and blue and show love for the sacrifices made," added Post 254 member Paul Gottfried.

Johnstown-Monroe High School's Big Red Band played the national anthem, followed by a tribute from the Silent Praise Group.

American Legion chaplain Joe Lindsay said it's important to honor defense personnel who lost their lives.

"This holiday was originally known as Declaration Day on May 30, 1869 to decorate the graves of Civil War dead, then the Revolutionary War to present," he added. "It's a sacred day to all war veterans."

Lindsay said it's a duty of every veteran to educate the public and future generations about the meaning of Memorial Day.

"Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance," he said. "Our freedoms were all paid by the lives we didn't know. There's a national debt to be repaid by every citizen."

Lindsay said it's important to pause to recognize all generations who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A new generation of patriots is taking on the war on terrorism, according to Lindsay.

"We must ensure our youth know who to honor and why," he added. "We're standing among heroes of many wars. There are 646 veterans of various wars buried in our midst Let us never forget."

American Legion Post 254 members provided a rifle volley salute and the Big Red Band concluded the remembrance ceremony with the playing of "Taps."