ELYSBURG - Labor Day weekend across the country usually signifies the end of summer, but state Rep. Kurt Masser (R-107) said the people of Ralpho Township celebrate the holiday in a unique way.

It's "a time to get in last minute summer vacations, and the kids head back to school, but here in Elysburg, we always make it a point to remember those who served (in the military) and those who are still serving," Masser said during the All Home Days tribute to veterans of the armed forces Monday evening.

While All Home Days honors all veterans, the legislator explained this year's 94th annual celebration at Elysburg Community Park was planned to especially recognize those who served during the Korean War.

"It's hard to believe that it's been 60 years since 1953, the year that marked the end of the Korean War. The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the Forgotten War because it occurred between World War II and the Vietnam War," he said.

The moniker is an "unfair nickname," because of the number of men and women who died during the war, he said. The Korean War claimed 36,516 Americans, according to the Department of Defense.

"Every Korean War veteran I've ever spoken with certain doesn't forget it, and I believe the Korean War, in a way, defined who we are as Americans" because it was the first armed conflict of the Cold War.

It also was a "fork in the road of human destiny," he added. "American servicemen were called to help answer the question: Would men live under the cruel thumb of communism or would freedom reign and the bounties of liberty be shared among all the world's people?"

Because of the selfless service by those veterans, Masser said the country is and continues to be a beacon for democracy around the world.

"Today, as always, we support the troops currently defending our liberty. These veterans, like all who preceded them, have endured sufferings and sacrifices. We always need to remember their contributions," he said.

'Great day'

The ceremony was hosted by former Army Sgt. Marc Burlile, who served from 1976 to 1992, and music was provided by The Vic Boris Trio.

Burlile explained the POW-MIA table set up on the stage, and while the community gathered to place flowers on wreaths, troops and veterans paid tribute to their fallen comrades by creating a monument with a rifle, boots, a helmet, military ID tags, a flag and single red rose.

Walt Summers, commandant of Marine Corps League Black Diamond Detachment 846, also provided some comments at the ceremony.

He asked the audience to never forget the ultimate sacrifice some gave for freedom and requested prayer for all those serving around the world.

"Any day you wake up free is a great day," he said.

Summers and Andy Bubnis, quartermaster of the league, were both part of the flag retirement ceremony.

A carnation ceremony was also held to remember lost loved ones.