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A solemn Memorial Day remembrance – and a nod to the ‘dogs of war’

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As it always is, the emotional theme of Front Royal’s sixth annual and now municipally-sponsored event was sacrifice in service to one’s country – and the lasting pain of the one’s left behind by those who make the ultimate sacrifice – their lives.

“For some, every day is Memorial Day,” keynote speaker Lt. Colonel Michael Starling, U.S. Marine Corps (retired) said of those who have lost a friend, family member or loved one to war.  It is a loss the pain of which does not go away for 364 days of the year until the next official national remembrance.

The ultimate sacrifice and the pain of that sacrifice on those left behind was a connecting theme throughout the remarks in the opening phase of the program – the phase dedicated to human sacrifice.  As Front Royal Memorial Day event founder and Co-Chairman Malcolm Barr Sr. noted in opening his remarks, the Front Royal event is unique in its two-phased tribute to human and canine service and sacrifice.

Royal Examiner cameras were there! CLICK HERE to watch the ceremony.

Front Royal Virginia

“I have always felt it appropriate to do this in Front Royal since it was here that the first enlisted dogs of World War II were trained in 1942,” Barr said in his remarks on Memorial Day 2018, telling the crowd, “This parade of canines is our way of paying tribute to the war dogs, together with the dogs of local law enforcement, who spend their lives protecting us and our families in these times of strife here and around the world.”

In his blessing offered to the dogs of war and those dogs present with their owners in phase two of the ceremony, lay Minister Michael Williams noted the nature of the canines “who give their unconditional love to us whether we deserve it or not.”

Therapy dog Bentley and his handler Diana Lieber led the Parade of Dogs tribute

In launching the parade of dogs, Williams thanked the Almighty for the gifts of friendship and devotion from our canine companions – “Especially for the dogs that with their lives daily, protect our local streets, our airports, our borders, our first responders, our soldiers.  We bless them today, and all animals, for their selfless sacrifice, that they might live long and beautiful lives, reminding us of the ultimate love that you gave us, through the sacrifice of your only son.”

And it was a handsome variety of dogs large and small that partook with their owners in the annual Parade of Canines.

But after presenting his overview of this year’s event, again moderated by Co-Chairman Maj. Robert MacDougall, USMC Reserve, Barr returned to phase one of the ceremony.  Quoting from an article in the Washington Post by Marine veteran Gus Biggio, Barr read the Afghan war veteran’s observation on the reality lived by soldiers at war and those left behind:

“We choose to serve. And when we choose to serve sometimes chance chooses us.  Every deployed service member leaves behind someone who cares, someone who, when giving one last hug before their warrior ships out, feels their pride clash with the fear that this last hug might be the last hug.  After that, every call from an unknown number, every unexpected knock on the door, reignites the constant worry in the daily lives of those on the home front, making them shudder at the prospect of what might be.”

Barr continued to recount Biggio’s observations on death in service in the America of the 21st century – an America where military service is now voluntary; an America that periodically places prohibitions on news agencies filming the return of American servicemen in caskets from overseas, including from the Afghan front where Biggio served nine years ago in what is now America’s longest-running military conflict.

Local Memorial Day event founder and Co-Chair Malcolm Barr quoted an Afghan vet on the sacrifices abroad and at home.

“In an era when military service is the exception rather than the norm, the death of our service members in combat is often a concept as distant as the lands where they fought.  Local newspapers may run an article about the hometown hero, but usually little attention is paid to a life cut short in service to our nation, the loss drowned out among news of celebrity gossip, political shenanigans or the other minutiae that consume our lives.  The families of those killed in action are soon left to face their grief as well as they can, often alone.  For them, the ceremonies honoring their loved ones are a stark reminder that one of the constant realities of war throughout history is that bad things will happen to good people. – This Memorial Day, take a moment to honor and remember them,” Barr quoted Biggio’s conclusion.

Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Starling (ret.) delivered a sterling Memorial Day Keynote Speech – and challenge to those present

Keynote speaker Starling then rose to put a human face, a local face on the day.  He noted that Joseph Warren, the Massachusetts physician, state congressman and soldier for whom Warren County, Virginia is named, died a hero’s death in the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War.

Lt. Col. Starling then recited the names and personal histories of some of the sons of Front Royal and Warren County whose lives have been lost to war: Edward Eugene Casarotti – “baseball in 1930’s; silk industry in town; landed at Utah Beach at Normandy (with this reporter’s father) – “Lost while clearing western France of German forces”. Larry Eugene Smedley – born Front Royal 1949; attended high school in Orlando, Florida and joined the Marines before graduation; led his six-man squad in Vietnam on a pre-emptive attack against a superior force raining U.S. troops with rockers, mortars and machine gun fire; died from wounds incurred on a successful attack on the machine-gun position. Charles William Davis – the Polk Avenue resident of Front Royal called “Bongo” by his football coach, joined and re-enlisted to serve in Vietnam.  Lost in action on July 6, 1966, at age 25 during security patrols near DaNang in Quang Nam Province.

Noting the loss of friends he had served with, Lt. Col. Starling, now an official at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, added one R-MA name out of 51 he noted are etched on a memorial wall at the academy for cadets lost in wars since World War I: Adam Mooney – R-MA Class of 1992, Army helicopter pilot, killed on January 25, 2004 when his helicopter crashed trying to rescue a soldier whose boat had capsized in the Tigris River during the Iraq War.  Of Mooney’s loss, Starling noted, “Adam’s body was recovered three weeks later, just after his first wedding anniversary.”

Jacob Bols blew Taps to close Front Royal’s Memorial Day 2018 tribute

“Our nation’s military ranks are filled with the likes of Casarotti, Davis, Smedley, Mooney.  Some end up making the ultimate sacrifice to secure the freedom we enjoy every day.  We owe them a debt we cannot pay in our lifetime,” Lt. Col. Starling told Front Royal’s Memorial Day crowd.

A debt that can never be paid in full

But if not paid in full, Starling asked those present to begin that payment by remembering and sharing – “Their stories convey values of service, valor, patriotism and sacrifice that are some of the strongest fibers of our nation’s character.  It is our solemn duty to remember and recall these stories of those we know, and from where we live, so that they may be securely possessed by future generations.”

And as another step in paying our debt to those whose lives have been sacrificed for the greater good of a nation, Lt. Col. Starling asked those present to volunteer for service at home – “Get in the trenches to improve humanity and contribute to the greater good here at home, starting in our hometowns,” Starling suggested, observing, “There are plenty of worthy causes looking for the tenacious and those willing to sacrifice some of their time and talents.”

And there is a Memorial Day challenge we should all embrace – for those who didn’t make it home to offer their perspective and talents to their communities and nation.

And a challenge for us all

Starling closed by acknowledging the loss of Marine Colonel Wesley Fox (retired), who passed away last November; as well as all the Gold Star family members present.

Also acknowledged by speakers were veterans present, including another one of our own local heroes, Bunky Woods – a survivor of the Iraq War wounded while leading a rescue mission for other U.S. soldiers wounded in the field – God bless and great seeing you again, Bunky.

Second Iraq war veteran Bunky Woods with family and friends close by

Putting a sterling musical backdrop on the event was the Skyline High Brass Ensemble; Veteran Diana Lieber and Service Dog Bentley led the Parade of Dogs; Dennis Henline, president of Front Royal’s Elks Club 2382, an ordained minister and veteran of both the U.S. Army (1971-73) and the U.S. Marine Corps (1973-80), provided the invocation and closing prayer; R-MA cadets commanded by T/Sgt. Tina Laing, a U.S. Air Force veteran of the Iraq war, provided a guard of honor for the wreath-laying ceremony; young Jacob Bols returned to Warren County to play taps to conclude the event; Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Carter, North River Supervisor Dan Murray and Front Royal Mayor Hollis Tharpe represented the community during the ceremonies; and the AFA handed out flags, courtesy of retired Chief Master Sgt. Norman Brander.

An older vet chats at event’s conclusion

And so it goes in our own age of “perpetual war for perpetual peace” predicted by British author George Orwell in the shadow of World War II and at the dawn of the Cold War with the 1948 publication of his dark futuristic vision “1984”.

The Skyline High Brass Ensemble provided a stirring musical backdrop

Some of the other spectators and dogs gathered for Front Royal’s 6th Annual Memorial Day tribute

Memorial Day Co-Chair Robert MacDougall

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National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – Flags to be flown half-staff

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This December 7, we remember the world-changing event known as Pearl Harbor Day, or as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his December 8, 1941 speech declaring war on Japan, “a date which will live in infamy.”

Early on Wednesday morning, December 7, 2022, many will gather at Pearl Harbor National Memorial for the 81st Commemoration. The early start marks the moment to the minute 81 years ago when Japanese warplanes descended on Oahu, killing 2,403 service members and civilians, injuring thousands more, and dealing a near-fatal blow to the Navy’s fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Most young Americans who died that day, along with those who served in uniform during World War II or on the home front war effort, are collectively known as the Greatest Generation. Their sacrifices reflect the theme of this year’s Commemoration:  Everlasting Legacy.

The focus is the importance of remembering Pearl Harbor and how the Greatest Generation saved us from tyranny and brought us peace through reconciliation.


Governor’s Order for the Commonwealth of Virginia

In accordance with the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby order that the flags of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia to be flown at half-staff at all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in the Commonwealth in solemn respect and memory for the nearly 4,000 American service men and women killed or wounded in the early morning of December 7, 1941, at the United States Navy Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

I hereby order that the flag shall be lowered at sunrise on Wednesday, December 7, 2022, and remain at half-staff until sunset.

Ordered on this, the 6th day of December 2022.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Glenn Youngkin

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Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: American Goldfinch

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Photos / Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

These two American Goldfinches hit the same window at the same time and ended up here at the Center for care.

Though both are currently having breathing difficulty, and the male has significant head trauma with bleeding from the left ear, neither sustained any fractures. They are recovering together while they receive supplemental oxygen and pain medications.

Do you know what to do if a bird hits your window?


Though it was once standard to contain a window strike bird and let it rest for a few hours before attempting release, research has now shown that this is inadequate. Many of the issues we see with window strikes manifest 24+ hours after the strike, long after the bird can fly off.

If you see a bird hit a window, contain it right away and call the closest permitted rehabilitator. Do not release it! In the meantime, take steps to break up the reflections on your windows with tape, paint, or decals spaced no more than 2” apart. Prevention is better than treatment!

A new record!

Yesterday we surpassed last year’s intake number with this window strike pair. We are hopeful that they will soon be released together to enjoy the rest of their wild lives!

If you are looking for an easy way to help native wildlife become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.

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Local grandma steps out of shower, holds intruder at gunpoint until police arrive

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A Warren County family had an exciting Monday morning after the family’s matriarch thwarted an intruder who may have intended to steal a family vehicle.

Tricia Montoney told Royal Examiner Monday evening that an eagle-eyed neighbor noticed a man in the family’s driveway, around 7 a.m. standing beside a Ford F-150 pickup truck belonging to Tricia’s daughter, Rachel Montoney.

Rachel said in a phone interview that “once our neighbor told me about the man attempting to enter my vehicle, I ran to get my mom.”

Tricia was in the shower but quickly put on a robe and grabbed the Smith and Wesson 9 mm handgun she keeps for personal protection. She then went outside to confront the intruder. By then, she said, the man was sitting inside the pickup with the door closed.


Interrupted during her morning shower, Warren County resident Tricia Montoney was able to confront an intruder and hold him at gunpoint until deputies could place him under arrest. Photos by Rachel Montoney.

Rachel says her mom yelled to the intruder, “What are you doing? Get out of the truck and on your knees!” The man, later identified by arresting officers as Larry Huyser, exited the truck and complied with Tricia’s instructions while a neighbor called 9-1-1.

Huyser, who was dressed in a fluorescent green sweatshirt, jeans, and a black hat, said that he had gotten into the unlocked truck “because I was cold.”

Warren County deputies who arrived on the scene found Tricia holding Huyser at gunpoint. He was taken into custody without incident.

Huyser was booked into the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail (RSW) and charged with vandalism, damaging property, tampering and entering a vehicle, and breaking and entering an auto.

Thanks to Tricia Mohoney’s quick action, Warren County deputies were able to take an intruder into custody Monday morning. Larry Huyser, below, was booked into the RSW Regional Jail.

LARRY HUYSER

He is being held without bond. Online court records show that Huyser has been arrested before for similar offenses.

Both Tricia and Rachel expressed their gratitude for their neighbor and his assistance in contacting the police and for staying with Tricia as she held the intruder at gunpoint.

The Montoneys also appreciated the deputies, who arrived quickly and transported the intruder to RSW.

Asked if she would now lock her truck at night, Rachel said, “Absolutely!”

Both ladies expressed their gratitude that no one was injured and said they were especially grateful for their close friendship with their neighbors. “We take care of each other out here,” Tricia said.

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Congressman Ben Cline holds Town Hall meeting in Warren County

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Residents of Warren County were invited to a town hall event with Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) on December 5, 2022. This town hall event was an opportunity for residents of Warren County to engage in a dialogue with Rep. Cline about important issues in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Watch the Town Hall meeting on this exclusive Royal Examiner video.

 

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Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputies help rescue horse after fall into pool

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On December 2, 2022, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Deputy’s responded to a residence on Green Springs Rd. in Frederick County. This was regarding an 1800-pound draft horse that fell into a swimming pool. Once on the scene Deputies determined that the horse had knocked over the top rail of the fence around the pool, jumped the fence and walked out onto the nylon pool cover causing the horse to fall into the water. However, its head and part of the body remained above water.

The Draft Horse was in the 9-foot end of the pool. Deputies Cram, ACO Deputy Tasker and Sgt. Hawse started cutting the pool cover away from the horse. Once it was clear of the cover and haltered, the horse was pulled to the shallow end of the pool where it was able to stand and catch its breath. Deputies were able to guide the horse up the stairs to the pool deck and into the yard.

The Veterinarian who handles the horse was called and advised to dry the horse as good as possible, feed it hay and keep it moving. That information was passed on to the owner’s children that arrived on scene. At the time of this email the horse was doing fine.

“You just never know what type of calls we respond to every day. This is one for the books. We are happy that it was witnessed, and we could respond to assist. Deputies were ready to go in the water if needed to make sure the horse stayed above water,” Sheriff Lenny Millholland observed of the incident.


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Local doctors take time out to again treat third world country residents of Honduras

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For the past 14 years, local Dr. Thomas (call me “Tommy”) Ball has ducked out of Front Royal Family Practice to spend up to two weeks leading a medical team to serve the people of Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Ball – okay, we’ll call him Tommy from here on – has always considered serving the under-served a core mission of his medical practice.  For the past 20 years Valley Health has recognized and supported that mission as part of his faculty position at the Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Residency.  “Valley Health recognizes that young doctors want to understand Global Health and want to contribute internationally.  They allow me to devote time as a teacher to global health issues and they support our work overseas,” he told us.

Dr. Ball examining a patient in Honduras clinic. – Courtesy Photos Dr. Ball/SAGE

Medical faculty from around Virginia have formed a nonprofit organization, SAGE (Students And Global Engagement), focused on introducing trainees to a small community in rural Honduras.  As Tommy describes it, “We attempt to foster better health among the Hondurans and to expose Americans to the needs people face in a third world setting.  It is a two-way street in which both parties benefit.”


SAGE helped build a small mountainside clinic in the village of Pinares, Honduras.  They send medical teams for one to two-week stretches three times a year at four-month intervals.  The area they serve is approximately the size of Warren County, with similar mountainous terrain.  Average take-home pay for the mostly agricultural workers around Pinares is about $3-dollars a day (yes, a day, emphasized Ball).

Medication, some donated by Valley Health, helps patients cope with a variety of diseases including familiar problems such as diabetes, hypertension and arthritis, as well as problems uncommon here such as parasites caused by contaminated water.  SAGE tries to go beyond just medication and address the underlying social factors that foster illness.  In recent years they have donated monthly food packages to families with young children and filters to improve the safety of drinking water.

This fall the team included Dr. Paulius Mui and Dr. Sean Sutphen from the residency training program and seasoned local physician Dr. Shyama Rosenfeld, as well as support personnel in pharmacy, emergency transport, and anthropology.

Dr. Shyama Rosenfeld, left, leads a team visiting a handicapped young woman in her mountainside home near Pinares, Honduras.

Tommy has developed close ties and friendships in the community SAGE serves.  He notes that he is older than most volunteers, but hopes he still has a few more years left of visiting and doing his best to improve health conditions in Pinares. “We have the personnel who want to help, but we are always struggling financially,” Tommy said, hoping that local service clubs and other non-profits might see their way to help support SAGE.

If you, the reader, are interested and require additional information, email Tommy at Front Royal Family Practice (taball@valleyhealthlink.com) or visit the SAGE website (sage-community.com). And yes, you may call him Tommy!

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Upcoming Events

Dec
7
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 7 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
10
Sat
10:00 am 10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 10 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
10th Virginia Infantry Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area Journey back in time and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment during the holidays. Interact with the 10th VA Infantry, also known as the Valley Guards,[...]
Dec
14
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 14 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
17
Sat
1:00 pm The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Dec 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Nutcracker 2022 @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of the seasonal ballet The Nutcracker, to be presented in Front Royal, VA, on Saturday December 17th 2022. Tickets: $35 and $25 Under 16:[...]
Dec
21
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 21 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
28
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 28 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jan
1
Sun
5:30 am First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jan 1 @ 5:30 am – 3:00 pm
First Day Hikes at Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. While the American tradition of celebrating the New Year occurs at midnight on New Year’s Eve, other cultures celebrate by enjoying the sunrise on New Year’s Day. As part of the continuing American[...]