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Memorial Day, May 31, 2010

Lest we not forget...

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 departed."

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.
 

The National Anthem was sung by Hannah Boyer

The National Anthem was sung by Hannah Boyer at the start of our Memorial Day ceremony which was presented by members of VFW Post 2223 and American Legion Post 148.

Cub Scouts from Pack 48 in Savanna, Illinois.

Cub Scouts from Pack 48 led by Tim Hartman joined in with all of the guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Address of the day by MSG Clarence Thomas, U.S. Army

The Key Speaker was MSG Clarence Thomas, U.S. Army stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal. Click for text of speech.

West Carroll State Champion Band

We enjoyed a number of musical pieces presented by the West Carroll High School Band under Director Emily Bressler.

Placing of Wreath on Veterans Memorial Monument

A wreath was placed by the Veterans Memorial to honor those veterans that have gone before us by Frank Grove, VFW Post Commander and Paul Mayer, American Legion Post Commander.

Hand Salute by Commanders Frank Grove and Paul Mayer

A snappy Hand Salute by Frank Grove, VFW Post Commander and Paul Mayer, American Legion Post Commander.

21 Gun Salute by Honor Guard

A 21 gun salute was presented by the Honor Guard at the close of the ceremony.

The Honor Guard comprised of members of the VFW and American Legion.

Our Honor Guard.

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.

 


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