In a brief ceremony Monday morning, about two dozen people gathered at veterans Memorial Plaza in Apalachicola to commemorate Memorial Day.

In his remark, Al Mirabella, the new commander of American Legion Post 106, reminded the gathering of the price of freedom, and recounted examples of courage and sacrifice made by solders in Iraq, as well as those that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and perished there.

“These are the champions who helped free a continent,” said President Reagan in a 1984 dedication ceremony. “These are the heroes who helped end a war.”

Mirabella told of other soldiers who gave their lives and were honored by presidents with the Medal of Honor.

“We don’t just honor those with the highest medals or even those who participated in the most hellacious firefights,” he said. “We honor the more than one million men and women who lost their lives defending America in wars from the Revolution to the global war on terrorism.”

Mirabella told of Pvt. First Class Jesse Givens, who wrote a letter to his 6-year-old daughter Dakota before he left for Iraq, with instructions for his family to open it only if he died there.

“Never be afraid to be yourself,” he wrote his daughter. “I will always be there in our park, when you dream, so we can play. I love you, and hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me.”

The ceremony featured a joint singing of “God Bless America” and the laying of a wreath at the Three Servicemen Statue Detail, by Navy veteran Frank Cook.