BEND AREA — “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13, KJV Holy Bible.
Members of the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason and Smith-Capehart American Legion Post 140 of New Haven gathered Monday on Memorial Day to remember those service men and women who laid down their lives to keep America free.
In several solemn services, the groups paid homage to their fallen comrades at the stone memorial markers in Clifton, Mason, Hartford, and New Haven. A red, white, and blue wreath was placed in front of each marker prior to the beginning of the service.
Flag bearers carried the American Flag, the flag in honor of those who were prisoners of war or who are missing in action, and others. The honor guard was also present to give a three-volley salute. Following a prayer and tributes of remembrance from V.F.W. Commander Ronie Wheeler, other members, and their auxiliaries, an American Flag was placed at the marker. The playing of “Taps” ended the ceremony.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May. Originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who died in military service for the United States.
President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, N.Y. as the birthplace of Memorial Day in May 1966. It was celebrated on May 30 until 1971, when the National Holiday Act of 1971 designated the last Monday in May to be Memorial Day.
The first official observance was held May 30, 1868, under proclamation by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and involved placing glowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]