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Memorial Day, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

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.
 

Bruce Mottin was the Master of Ceremony for our Service.

Bruce Mottin VFW Commander was the Master of Ceremony for the 2014 Memorial Day Service at the Savanna Township Cemetary.

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The National Anthem was sung by the Men of Calvary at the start of our Memorial Day ceremony which was presented by members of VFW Post 2223 and American Legion Post 148. The Men of Calvary also sang the Service Medley, With One Dream and God Bless America during the ceremony.

LTC Frank V Gilbertson

The Key Speaker was LTC Frank V Gilbertson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans G5, Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island Illinois Click here to view video of the ceremony including LTC Gilbertson's speach.
Or click here to view video of LTC Gilbertson's speach only.

Honor Guard under Ed Arb get into position for the Ceremony.

Honor Guard under Ed Arb get into position for the Ceremony.

The members of the rifle squad waiting their turn.

The members of the rifle squad waiting their turn.

Honored Guests included Rev Gary Abney, Savanna Police Chief Mike Moon and Bonnie Bardel President of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

Honored Guests included Rev Gary Abney, Savanna Police Chief Mike Moon and Bonnie Bardel President of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.

VFW Quartermaster and American Legion Post Commander Paul Mayer seen with VFW Service Officer Bill Scott and Savanna Mayor Tony McCombie.

VFW Quartermaster and American Legion Post Commander Paul Mayer seen with VFW Service Officer Bill Scott and Savanna Mayor Tony McCombie.

Cub Scout Pack 48 during the Pledge of Allegience.

Cub Scout Pack 48 during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Commanders Bruce Mottin and Paul Mayer place the wreath to honer our fallen veterans.

Commanders Bruce Mottin and Paul Mayer place the wreath to honer our fallen veterans.

Commander Paul Mayer reading the Roll Call of Veterans that passed away since the last memorial day.

Commander Paul Mayer reading the Roll Call of Veterans that passed away since the last memorial day.

ecause of possible weather conditions, we moved to the Primary School Gym where there was plenty of seating and no bugs!

Because of possible weather conditions, we moved to the Primary School Gym where there was plenty of seating and no bugs!

The Honor Guard Rifle Squad stands ready to fire the 21 gun salute and play taps at the enmd of the service.

The Honor Guard Rifle Squad stands ready to fire the 21 gun salute and play taps at the end of the service.

LTC Gilbertson spent time listening and talking with our veterans after the ceremony.

LTC Gilbertson spent time listening and talking with our veterans after 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.

 


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