Genoans observe Memorial Day

Former POW Larry Friese speaks at the Genoa Cemetery for an observance of Memorial Day.

Former POW Larry Friese speaks at the Genoa Cemetery for an observance of Memorial Day.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Five-year Hanoi Hilton survivor Larry Friese spoke to around 60 people in the Genoa Cemetery for a Memorial Day observance.

Friese was a Marine Corps captain flying as navigator in an A6 Intruder on his 138th mission when he was shot down. Shortly after repatriation in 1973, he transferred to the Navy and retired as a commander in 1985.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going,” the keynote speaker said quoting English Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Friese described his experiences as a POW at the event coordinated by Genoans Maggie Tracey and Chris Ritger of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Genoa resident Marian Vassar and friends sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful at the service.

Members of the Douglas High School Jr. ROTC presented the colors. East Fork Firefighter-Paramedic Christian Orozco played the bagpipes.

Tracey’s nephew Senior Airman Adam Servais died in 2006 in Afghanistan.

“I’ve been doing this since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” she said.

Only one of the 158 veterans buried in the Genoa Cemetery died in combat.

U.S. Army Cpl. Dennis Lee Bartlebaugh was remembered Monday on Memorial Day along with others buried in the Genoa Cemetery. Bartlebaugh died Sept. 21, 1969, in Quang Ngai Province.

Genoa resident Brendan Riley found an item from Memorial Day 1884 where a parade was conducted in honor of Civil War veterans John White and Thomas Murphy.

As reported June 6, 1884, in The Genoa Weekly Courier, schools were dismissed and a parade led by a brass band marched to the cemetery where the graves of the two men were decorated with almost all the flowers in town, according to the newspaper.

Veterans were treated to a free barbecue at High Sierra Fellowship on Saturday.

Organizer Kara Miller said 500 veterans and their guests were served at Reach for Joy’s 4th annual Veterans Appreciation BBQ.


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