409 Main St - Savanna, IL 61074 Phone: 815-273-7090
Memorial Day, May 26, 2008
Lest we not forget...
Memorial Day began as a memorial for Civil War
veterans. It has become both, a National Decoration Day of family
graves, and the holiday that opens the summer season. It is celebrated
with backyard barbecues, outdoor picnics, and parades.
Waterloo, New York was recognized by President Lyndon Johnson and both
houses of Congress, as the birthplace of Memorial Day because the town
decorated the graves of Civil War veterans as early as May 5, 1866. The
claim is contested by Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, which claims to have
begun the practice of decorating soldier's graves two years earlier than
Waterloo. Another source claims that two years after the Civil War, it
was southern women in Columbus, Mississippi who decorated the braves of
both Confederate and Union men. Nevertheless, sources agree that it was
General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic who designated
May 30, 1868, "as a day for strewing with flowers or otherwise
decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country,
and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, or hamlet
churchyard in the land...It is the purpose of the commander-in-chief to
inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept from year
to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of the
No survivor of that war remains, but the memories of it grow longer. As
do our memories of the parades with floats; civic organizations and drum
majorettes twirling their batons; lines and lines of young veterans from
The Gulf War and shorter lines of older men who saw service in the
Second World War. As long as there are wars, there will be veterans and
casualties. We will still decorate the graves of those men whose bodies
came home and remember those who don't.
The custom of placing flowers upon graves is an old one, and exists in
many countries. The Greeks had rites called zoai, which were performed
over each new grave. If the flowers took root and blossomed on the
graves, it meant the souls were sending back the message that they had
found happiness. The Roman festival, called Parentalia, or Day of the
Fathers, lasted for eight days in February--violets and roses were the
special flowers. Whatever the flower, wherever the grave, this placing
of flowers upon graves has always seemed the natural thing to do.
Today, most states officially recognize the May Memorial Day as a legal
holiday, but it is not celebrated on May 30th in every state. Over time
the holiday has expanded to encompass our other national wars. Although
Veteran's Day is celebrated as well, Memorial Day has become the most
important day of recognition of our armed forces.
Bill Scott gave the opening welcome speech to start
our Memorial Day ceremony which was presented by members of VFW Post
2223 and American Legion Post 148.
The National Anthem was sung by Stacey Bradley Handel
at the start of the ceremony.
Cub Scouts from Pack 48 led by Tim Hartman joined in
with all of the guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Invocation was given by Rev. Gary Abney.
The Key Speaker was CDR Paul Mayer who talked about our heroes and one special hero in the Veteran's
section of the cemetary that was the best man at his wedding 44 years ago and was killed in Vietnam.
Click for text of speech.
We enjoyed a number of musical pieces presented by
the West Carroll High School Band under Director Emily Bressler.
A wreath was placed by the Veterans Memorial to honor
those veterans that have gone before us by Todd Swanson, VFW Post
Commander and Frank Grove, American Legion Post Commander.
A 21 gun salute was presented by the Honor Guard at
the close of the ceremony.
Our Honor Guard.
Many of the citizens from Savanna and surrounding
towns came out for the ceremony.
God bless our Veterans and God Bless America...
For the 2007 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2008 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2010 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2011 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2014 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.