MASON — While to some it signifies the unofficial start of Summer, Memorial Day holds a deeper meaning for many, including members of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason and Smith-Capehart American Legion Post 140 of New Haven.
Each year, members of the two organizations meet at five Veterans Monuments in the Bend Area to hold a solemn remembrance of their fallen comrades.
The monuments are located in West Columbia, near the ball field on Lieving Road; Clifton, along Rt. 62; Mason, along Rt. 62 on the Senior Citizen Center grounds; Hartford, along Rt. 62 near the town gazebo; and New Haven, along Rt. 62 next to the fire station.
Drawing larger crowds than in recent years, the ceremonies included the laying of a patriotic wreath at the base of each monument, posting an American Flag at the site, and placing red, white and blue flowers atop the stone. A prayer, the playing of “Taps,” and a final salute finishes out the service.
Memorial Day was established after the Civil War, and was originally known as “Decoration Day.” It was first celebrated in 1868 at Arlington Cemetery. In 1971, Memorial Day was designated an official holiday and is celebrated on the last Monday in May. Congress passed an act in 2010 creating a national moment of remembrance, which calls for a brief silence at 3 p.m.
Following the local ceremonies, the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. hosted a chicken barbecue for all veterans.
Earlier in the holiday weekend, members of the two veteran organizations placed 1,250 American Flags on veteran graves in Bend Area cemeteries. They also took part in assisting at the Traveling Korean War Memorial, held over the weekend at the Letart Nature Park.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publshing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.