RAINELLE, WV (WVNS) — After not being able to do so last year, those with Landing Zone Rainelle, a West Virginia veterans reunion organization, were ecstatic to be able to host their annual Memorial Day ceremony.
Even though the rain kept them inside, those in attendance were determined to honor those who gave their lives in service.
“This is just the best, it was so disappointing last year and everybody struggled,” said Emma Michelinie, the co-chair of L.Z. Rainelle.
Children singing the national anthem, artistic demonstrations and candles lit, all to remember and honor those soldiers. Among those in the pews were members of Task Force Omega of Kentucky, a group of veterans and motorcyclists who routinely come to Rainelle. They said in the late 80’s they drove through on the way to Washington D.C., and were met with a surprise celebration put on by the town.
“This was the welcome home we never had, so this is home for a lot of us,” said Danny “Greasy” Belcher, the Executive Director of Task Force Omega of KY.
Sitting in the front, all dressed in white were women from West Virginia Gold Star mothers. Gold Star mothers are women whose children died during service, but that does not always mean in combat. WV Gold Star Mother President Belinda Jividen lost her son after he returned home to PTSD suicide. She said no mother should lose their child in any way.
“As a mother, as a parent, you don’t want anybody, you don’t want your child to be forgotten and that is one of the things gold star mothers does,” said Jividen.
Those with LZ Rainelle said they wanted to invite the two groups to show how much any kind of military service means to their community. The honored guests said it was well worth the wait.
“It is, it is like a big family reunion to see the kids, and like I said it is about making a difference and anybody can do that if you just try,” said Belcher.