BEND AREA — Those who lost their lives while serving in the military were remembered Monday in the Bend Area.
Members of the Smith-Capehart American Legion Post 140 of New Haven and Stewart-Johnson V.F.W. Post 9926 of Mason marked Memorial Day with services at Clifton, Mason, Hartford and New Haven. The solemn ceremonies were held at each veterans monument.
An increase in attendance was seen over some of the past years, many being the faithful who attend annually. Such is the family of the late Winfield “Winnie” VanMeter, a veteran. His daughter, Jackie Ohlinger, said the service was very important to her father, and added she will attend as long as she is living. Children and grandchildren of VanMeter were among the crowd in Mason.
Others brought their youngsters to learn that the holiday is more than just a day off from school. Among them were Shaykesia Roach, who had her children at the service, and Nick and Kira Northup, who attended as a family with their three children.
A wreath was placed at each monument, as well as three blocks of carnations, one red, one white, and one blue. A new American Flag was added in front of each stone, prior to a gun salute and the playing of “Taps.” A prayer, tribute, and final salute to the fallen completed the ceremony.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed on the last Monday of 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 observation was held May 30, 1868, under proclamation by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and involved placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.