On Memorial Day it is fitting to remember the fallen heroes of past wars. The Savolskis-Wasik-Glenn Funeral Home would like to take this opportunity to remember not only the deceased veterans, but all those whose families we served during the last year. The featured essays were written by this year’s recipient s of the Savolskis-Wasik-Glenn Funeral Home’s Memorial Day essay scholarship contest Kelly Bennett and Nicholas Cutruzzula. Each student received a 250 dollar scholarship from SWG. Kelly is a senior at Steel Valley High School and Nick is a senior at West Mifflin Area High School. Congratulations Kelly and Nick!
What Memorial Day Means to Me
By Nicholas Cutruzzula
At first thought, Memorial Day represents a long weekend which leads to the beginning of summer. Businesses close and stores go on high alert for a shopping extravaganza. However, this is not the thought associated with Memorial Day. This sacred day is a day to remember all people who have been lost from the American Revolution up to the Iraq War. Ordinary Americans do not always realize all the time what soldiers are fighting for, but Americans do realize that the soldiers should be remembered. Memorial Day means all the white headstones lined up in Arlington cemetery. It means giving a whole day of remembrance to those who really deserve it. It means a way for ordinary citizens to remember our most extraordinary citizens. Families of soldiers also get remembered. These soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom; the least we can do is sacrifice a day. They deserve it.
By Kelly Bennett
To me, Memorial Day is a particularly remarkable day. I am honored to have many veterans in my family; some who served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and peacetime. I have great pride for all of my family members who served for our freedom. However, the veteran I am particularly proud of is my great, great grandfather, Joseph B. Bennett.
Grandpap Joe was at the tender age of eleven when he ran away from home. He took internal initiative and enlisted as a drummer boy in the 19th U.S. Infantry on November 1, 1861. He went with his regiment to Tennessee, serving under General Ulysses S. Grant. His regiment participated in 5 battles. On December 15, 1862, Joe was discharged because of his age.
Joe had no choice but to return home. He reenlisted on June 27, 1863 as a bugler in the 21st Regiment, Pa. Cavalry. His regiment participated in 12 battles. Fortunately Joe’s cavalry regiment was engaged in scout and provost duty at Harpers Ferry, Va. during early July 1863, including July 3rd which is when the battle Gettysburg was fought. I am grateful he wasn’t at Gettysburg, for he probably would have met his demise and I wouldn’t be here today to share his story.
Grandpap Joe is buried in the Soldiers’ Circle in Homestead Cemetery. His headstone is proudly placed second to the right as you enter the circle. Every Memorial Day for the past four years I have participated in the annual parade as a member of the Color guard of Steel Valley’s Band. I had the true privilege of being exposed to the many stories our heroic veterans chose to share. Listening to these stories, along with the stories of my ancestors, instills a great sense of pride knowing that my hero’s final resting place was just a short distance away. Grandpap rests eternally where he deserves, in the circle of heroes.
I would personally like to thank all our veterans from all wars and peacetime. I am honored to share a last name with so many veterans. The Bennett family veterans all hold a special place in my heart, especially my hero Grandpap Joe. Because of their service and sacrifices, we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. As the saying goes, “Freedom is Not Free,” it is a privilege paid for by our heroic veterans.