By Marj Frew
The weather played a major factor in this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony, with extended rain forecasts bringing the Avenue of Flags to the American Legion Club, rather than having the event at the Martin Community Cemetery.
The 34th year of the R.W. Hodson Memorial Avenue of Flags ceremony, held Monday, May 27, listed the names of local veterans who have served our country, and have passed away.
The program asked those in attendance to remember those that have fallen, and those who are still fighting.
Post 240 Commander Mathew Risse served as Master of Ceremonies for the annual event.
Post 240 Chaplain Beverly Kirk gave the Invocation, and asked for 30 seconds of silence in honor of those fallen.
Commander Risse welcomed those present and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commander Risse’s son, Gavin, read a special poem which reminds us that “If we remember those who are gone, then they live again.”
The Address was given by Post 240 member, Bev Kirk. She spoke of how “Memorial Day is a chance to reconnect the genesis of our nation’s innumerous freedoms. It is an important day on which we ground ourselves to the reality that every Gold Star Family knows. Our way of life has been shaped and made possible by those who have served and by those who were lost.”
Risse and Jerry Lyon presented certificates to family members who have donated flags in memory of their loved ones who passed away this past year. Those commemorated included Harold Bates, U.S Army; Ellis Rae Hicks, U.S. Air Force; and Roy Milliken, U.S. Army Airborne.
The traditional memorial wreath was placed at the foot of the flag at the Martin Community Cemetery, earlier in the day, by Sons of the American Legion member Kevin Hodson.
Following Benediction by Chaplain Kirk, and the Retirement of the Colors, the Legion Auxiliary served lunch with a freewill offering that will be used for future Honor Flights.
The weather cooperated enough on Sunday that the Color Guard was able to visit the cemeteries in Merriman, at East Housing, and the residents at Bennett County Nursing Home.
Post 240 Chaplain Bev Kirk recited the Prayer.
“Let us pray. Almighty God, Giver of all victories, we thank Thee for the opportunities which abide in our land, for Thy guidance in the hour of peril and Thy tender love in times of need.”
“Help us to remember with reverence the valor and devotion of our departed comrades; not only those whose bodies consecrate our country’s soil, but also those who sleep beyond the seas, and those others whose resting places will not be known until that last day when the deep will have given up its dead.”
“O God, teach us to honor them by ever cherishing the ideals for which they fought. Keep us steadfast in the cause of human rights and liberties, of law and order, and true Americanism. Give us the power to see, and the will to do right.”
“Grant that The American Legion may preserve the high ideals for which our comrades died. May Thy merciful blessing rest upon those they left behind. Keep us forever firm in righteousness, humble of heart, and unselfish in purpose.”