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. VFW Ladies Auxiliary members will present the corsages and hand out the Buddy Poppies at the service.
The program will begin with the posting of the colors at Eastlawn. Following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, Tom Denison with VFW Post 3278, will extend the welcome. The Rev. Jerry Evans of Southside Baptist Church will pray the invocation and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dan Locker, M.D., will deliver the Memorial Day address. Mal Aaron will perform and sing patriotic music, and, to conclude the program, Ryan Braquet, will perform “Taps.”
Evans will give the benediction and VFW Post 3278 members will lower the colors to half staff as an honor to veterans, living and dead.
Though “Decoration Day” was begun post Civil War and observed by placing wreaths, crosses or floral bouquets on Civil War soldiers’ graves, after World War I the practice was extended to honor all those who died in service to their country.
According to the American War Library, 363,020 Union soldiers died and 199,110 Confederate soldiers died in the war between the states. Their combined total is almost five times the 116,708 fatalities counted for World War I, and also exceeds the 408,306 who died in World War II.
Between 1775 and 1783, 25,324 patriots died in the Revolutionary War. American deaths in the Korean War are listed as 54,246 and 58,219 deaths are counted for the Vietnam War, though that number is adjusted each year to include recent post combat deaths.
As of Saturday, at least 3,450 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,809 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.