The local tradition of pausing on Memorial Day to remember those who have given their all for the United States of America will carry on this Memorial Day Monday.
The 10 a.m. Memorial Day service at Eastlawn Memorial Park has been a tradition in Brown County for a number of years. The late Groner Pitts and Harriette Graves were two of the original and principal organizers for the local annual event.
As has been the case for the last several years, VFW Post 3278 and Ladies Auxiliary are the organizers for the ceremony.
The program is to begin with the posting of the colors at 10 a.m. Monday, Memorial Day. Retired Navy Chaplain James Looby will be the program speaker this year and the men’s quartet, 4 X Grace, will provide the special music. Jerry Evans, minister at Southside Church, will lead the invocation and benediction, and members of the American Legion Post 196 will oversee the program’s conclusion, with the lowering of the colors to half staff and the playing of “Taps.”
“Every year our crowd seems to grow some, I think,” said Dee Denison, a member of the VFW Post 3278 Auxiliary. “I think that’s good, it’s good for people to have the opportunity to pay their respects, and to honor those who have served and especially those who died in that service.”
Throughout the holiday weekend a number of observances and activities are planned. By this evening, the grassy area between Heartland Mall and U.S. Highway 183 will have more than 300 American flags posted in its expanse, courtesy of American State Bank.
This weekend is also the time, and Heartland Mall is the place for the annual Lone Star Rib Fest and Texas Old Time Fiddlers Contest. “Rib burners” will be setting up their rigs and cookers outside the mall by about 4 p.m. today, with official start time 5 p.m.
Saturday’s activities include the Sears Amateur Tailgate BBQ Contest, affiliated with the rib burn off but designed for the amateur. Cooks in this contest must cook on a backyard type grill, not a smoker on a trailer and will be firing up their grills at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Winner receives a new grill from Sears ($600 value).
Also, anyone can participate in the Kiwanis Brisket Buy. Starting at 11 a.m., inside the mall, the Pecan Valley Kiwanis Club will sell brisket sandwiches, with chips, for $5 (while the supply lasts). Brisket by the pound will also be available for sale.
Then in the early afternoon, when the judging’s done, the Kiwanians will be selling ribs by the pound.
At 11:30 on the mall’s center stage, the Heartland Mall Teen Board Fashion Show, featuring the latest in patriotic fashion, is scheduled. From 1 to 5 p.m. the children can play in a “just for them” jump house, and mom and dad can listen to the fiddlin’ going on in the mall’s center stage area, after the noon registration. Lawn chairs are allowed, for those who want to plan to come and stay a while.
Also on Saturday, the Zephyr Cemetery Association is hosting its annual Veterans Memorial Service at 9:15 a.m. at the cemetery. Richard Ivy, pastor of Avenue D Baptist Church will be the speaker and his wife, Joy Ivy, will present special music. Prior to the service, members of the association’s board of directors will place an American flag at each of the 192 veterans’ graves in the cemetery. Any friends or family members who wish to assist with the flag distribution are invited to do so.