By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An early memorial Day observance was held Thursday at the VA Medical Center in West Philadelphia.

Cyber Charter School student Akira McFarland recounted the heroic World War I exploits of two local doughboys who died on the battlefields of Europe.

READ MORE: $20,000 Reward Offered After Fire At Historic St. Leo's Church In Tacony Ruled Arson

After the somber ceremony, a chaplain led a small procession outside, through the gloomy drizzle, to Woodland Cemetery for the laying of wreathes at the graves of those two soldiers: Captain Howard McCall and William Taber.

(credit: Paul Kurtz)


America entered the “War To End All Wars” 100 years ago. VA Medical Center Director Daniel Hendee says it is right and proper to remember those who fought for their country.

READ MORE: Philadelphia Teen Destiny Jackson Overcomes Significant Challenges To Be Among Best Of Class Of 2021

“We commemorate the selflessness and sacrifice of those upon whose very lives rest on the foundation of freedom, and who set aside their personal aspirations for the preservation of our society,” said Hendee.

MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley Resigns Over Mishandling Of Remains Belonging To Victims Of 1985 MOVE Bombing

There’s much more to come this weekend as the nation pays tribute to all those who gave their lives fighting for their country.