In the nation’s capital, Memorial Day observances received national coverage. And there for a few of them were representatives of The American Legion.
During a ceremony that included President Joe Biden, American Legion National Vice Commander Glen Wahus’ first visit to Arlington National Cemetery included Wahus laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
And American Legion National Vice Commander Paul M. Kennedy placed a wreath at the Vietnam Wall during the annual Memorial Day observance.
But across the nation, Memorial Day was properly commemorated in the appropriate way in local communities, thanks in part to the American Legion family.
The following are examples of how American Legion Family members commemorated Memorial Day. Please feel free to share how your post, district or department observed the holiday at www.legiontown.org.
American Legion Post 20 hosted two ceremonies Monday in partnership with the City of Kenai. The first was held at the Kenai Cemetery where a few dozen attendees gathered between the graves to honor the fallen. The second, at Leif Hansen Memorial Park, included appearances by government officials and their representatives.
At both ceremonies, Post 20 Chaplain Mike Meredith led a series of prayers and invocations, and also read a poem. In addition, American Legion Post 20 Commander Ron Homan shared stories of fallen soldiers.
“Americans, we do not forget,” Homan said. “Whether it is an hour ago or a century ago, we remember.”
At the second ceremony, a wreath-laying ceremony honored the fallen, and attendees were invited to affix poppies to them to honor loved ones.
· In Siloam Springs, American Legion Post 29 conducted its annual Memorial Day program at the Siloam Springs Community Building. The program featured speeches from Arkansas State Sen. Tyler Dees and Siloam Springs Mayor Judy Nation.
· In Carlisle ahead of Memorial Day, American Legion Post 133 placed flags on the gravesite of all known veterans buried at Carlisle Cemetery, Hamilton Cemetery and Watson Chapel Cemetery. The post invited the community to assist.
· In Alameda, a Memorial Day ceremony at Alameda Veterans Memorial Park was hosted by American Legion Post 647 and Post 9, in collaboration with Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 400 and Alameda Elks Lodge 1015. Representatives from Post 647 and Post 9 took part in a wreath-laying ceremony, while Post 647 Chaplain Kurt Winkowsky delivered the invocation.
· In Cambria, American Legion Post 432 hosted the community Memorial Day program in the Veterans Memorial Hall parking lot.
· In Woodland, American Legion Post Yolo Post 77 sponsored the Memorial Day ceremony at Woodland Cemetery. Post 77 organized volunteers to set up flags along Main Street and at the cemetery. An estimated 150 large flags were set up in the cemetery and about 2,500 smaller ones on the gravesites of the fallen.
In North Port, American Legion Post 254 joined with the city, as well as the North Port Police Department and North Port Fire Rescue, to conduct a Memorial Day observance at the City Center Front Green
In Gainesville, Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7 hosted the 19th annual Memorial Day parade.
In Post Falls, American Legion Post 143 teamed with the city to conduct a Memorial Day program that included remarks from John and Lorie Goldsmith, whose son Wyatt was a U.S. Army Green Beret who died in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2011.
· In Salem, American Legion Post 128 sponsored the Memorial Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in East Lawn Cemetery. The guest speaker was retired U.S. Marine Mike Gasperini, who now works with the Global War on Terrorism Wall of Remembrance for those who lost their lives in the Middle East.
· In Sandwich, Brown Miller American Legion Post 181 conducted a ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park, where the new Middle East Conflict Memorial was dedicated. The monument was sponsored by American Legion Riders Chapter 181. Post 181 also teamed with VFW Post 1486 to perform ceremonies at multiple locations.
· In Normal, American Legion Post 635 rendered military funeral honors for Harry Sidney Scott and Roger J. Vogel on Memorial Day at Evergreen Cemetery. The two soldiers hadn’t previously received the honors. The Memorial Day ceremony also included a flag folding, flyover, musical salute, guest speaker, 21-gun salute and taps.
· In Merrillville, the Department of Indiana First District conducted a Memorial Day ceremony in Calumet Park Cemetery’s veterans section.
· In Westville, American Legion Post 21 conducted Memorial Day services at four different locations and then provided food afterward for those coming to the post.
In Washington, American Legion Post 29 staged multiple public events on Memorial Day. At one of those, Post 29 Commander Mike York delivered a speech, saying, “It is our responsibility to pass down, to the next generation, the true purpose of Memorial Day. To honor the memory of those who gave their lives … not forgetting the cost of these freedoms.”
In Hutchinson, Lysle Rishel Post 68’s American Legion Riders chapter attended programs at Reno County Memorial and Fairlawn Burial Park, while also doing ride-throughs at Memorial Park and East Side Cemetery.
· In Murray, the community gathered at Billy Lane Lauffer American Legion Post 73 for the annual Memorial Day ceremony. Post 73’s honor guard also delivered a rifle salute at four local cemeteries.
· In Versailles, members of Woodford Post 67 placed flags on veterans’ graves in the city’s cemeteries prior to Memorial Day and then conducted a ceremony on Memorial Day in the veteran section of Versailles Cemetery. The post hosts a lunch following the ceremony.
In Annapolis, Lt. Governor Miller participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at Maryland World War II Memorial, joined by members of American Legion Cook-Pinkey Post 141.
In Tisbury, American Legion Post 257’s annual Memorial Day parade included veterans, emergency response personnel and Scouts. Following the parade, spectators and participants proceeded to Oak Grove Cemetery’s Avenue of Flags for a ceremony.
Post 257 Commander Jo Ann Murphy read a list of veterans who died over the past year, and the ceremony concluded with wreaths being placed on the various monuments before participants returned to Post 257.
“People forget that’s why we have a three-day weekend, for all of the men and women who lost their lives,” Murphy told MVTimes.com.
· In Ada, McDonald-Osmer American Legion Post 451 hosted the Cascade Township Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Cascade Township Library. Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Trisha Torres was the guest speaker.
· In Petoskey, members of American Legion Post 194 took park in the annual parade and remembrance ceremony; Post 194 Commander Steve Sutton and Adjutant Brian Morrison led the ceremony, which included reading the names and branches of soldiers from Emmet County who died while in active duty.
· In Harbor Springs, thousands turned out for the Memorial Day parade down Main Street, which was followed by a memorial service hosted by Smith-Hoover American Legion Post 281 in Zorn Park. The names of local veterans who died in the line of service were read and taps was played.
· In Hancock, Alfred Erickson American Legion Post 186 conducted Memorial Day observances at several locations, including the Catholic and Protestant cemeteries, the Houghton County Marina, Houghton Veterans Park, Forest Hill Cemetery, Liminga Cemetery, Lakeside Cemetery and Post 186.
· In Holt, American Legion Post 238 Legionnaire Bill Jordan was featured on a WILX 10 Mid-Michigan Matters segment to discuss the importance of Memorial Day and promote Post 238’s Memorial Day parade.
· In Clawson, David E. Cleary Post 167 conducted a Memorial Day ceremony at Memorial Park.
American Legion Post 212’s Legion Family conducted Memorial Day ceremonies at the Park Rapids-Area High School, Red Bridge Park and the All Veterans Memorial in Park Rapids.
In Lewistown, American Legion Post 16 conducted a ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Park that included a fly-over of eight aircraft by members of the Central Montana chapter of the Montana Pilots Association.
“Over time, wars changed,” Post 16 Honor Guard Commander Dean Martin said. “However, the duties of the men and women serving in our military never changed. This call to duty and bravery, to sacrifice everything, to give the ultimate measure is what we honor today.”
Post 16 Vice Commander John Koch served as emcee and spoke of the diminishing numbers of U.S. citizens serving in the military. “When Decoration Day was first celebrated, one in 50 of the U.S. population had perished while serving in the Civil War,” he said. “That ratio changed to one in 3,000 when the Vietnam War ended. In the most protracted armed conflict of our history, the Iraq-Afghanistan war, it was 1 in 44,000. We are asking for a nearly impossible task — honoring those you do not know for something you cannot fully understand.”
· In Libby, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 97 hosted a Memorial Day event at the Libby Cemetery. Prior to the ceremony members of Unit 97 joined with Austin Reedy Post 97 Legionnaires in placing U.S. flags and flowers on veterans' graves.
In Laughlin, the annual Memorial Day program took place at the Avenue of Flags, which was erected by American Legion Post 60 in 1992.
The program featured a variety of speakers, including American Legion Auxiliary Unit 60 President Kathleen Hoss. "You tell them you love them and watch them head out into the unknown,” Hoss said. “You will face the possibility that a uniformed military officer and chaplain will show up at your doorstop and deliver that devastating news.”
Post 60 Commander Pam Walker shared of the stories of fallen stories, spanning from World War I to last March. "Whether it's an hour ago or a century ago, we remember," Walker said.
In Hackettstown. American Legion Post 164 hosted the 155th Annual Hackettstown Memorial Day Parade, which finished up with a community Memorial Day ceremony at Union Cemetery. A variety of antique vehicles were available for veterans to ride the parade route.
· In North Fork, Mattituck American Legion Post 861 hosted a Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Southold. Post 861 Commander Rob DeVito led the ceremony, discussing the meaning of Memorial Day. “We must always be grateful for true Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice," DeVito said.
· In Cassadaga, American Legion Post 1280’s honor guard paid tribute to fallen veterans in 12 cemeteries on Memorial Day. The final stop was at Cassadaga Cemetery, where a special service was held by members of Post 1280’s American Legion Family.
· In Watertown, American Legion Post 61 conducted its annual Memorial Day program and received strong media coverage from 7 News.
· In Bowling, forecasts of weather moved the Memorial Day event to American Legion Post 256. The program’s guest speaker was Ret. Navy Vice Admiral Sean Pybus.
· In Franklin, American Legion Post 108 hosted a community Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans’ Memorial Park. Ceremonial wreaths to honor those who gave their lives for the country were presented by American Legion Auxiliary 108 President Jan Stough and VFW Auxiliary 1339 President Shirley Fouts, Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Victoria Baker and Service to Veterans Chairman Dee Shendel.
· In Morehead City, around 70 Carteret County area veterans and residents gathered for a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by American Legion Post 46 at the Veterans Memorial in Bayview Cemetery. “Today, observances just like this are happening in communities across America. Yet too few people pause to remember the sacrifices of veterans who gave their tomorrows for our todays. Thank you all for being here to take part in this ceremony,” Post 46 Adjutant John Sotirkys said. “As we pause to place the memorial wreath today, let us remember that more than 1 million American servicemembers have died in wars that our nation has been involved in since the first colonial soldiers took up arms in 1775. Many of these solders died protecting one another, but they served to preserve that thing most sacred — freedom. By remaining true to the principles of honor, courage and sacrifice, we honor these men and women.”
· In Van Wert, American Legion Post 178 conducted a Memorial Day ceremony at Woodland Cemetery, where more than 2,100 flags were placed prior to the ceremony. “Today should be a solemn day but also a day of joy,” Post 178 Commander Ken Myers said during the ceremony. “Today is not about every servicemember or veteran, it’s about the ones that died defending the flag, this country and the people they loved. We, as veterans, proudly and respectfully placed the colors that paved the way for all of us to gather and remember the ultimate sacrifice they paid for our forefathers and for us.” Post 178 hosted a free lunch after the ceremony.
· In Mariette, American Legion Post 64 conducted the Memorial Day parade, which finished at Oak Grove Cemetery for a ceremony. American Legion Post 5108 co-hosted a lunch afterward.
· In Bluffton, American Legion Post 382 decorated 501 graves in Maple Grove Cemetery head of Memorial Day.
In Byng, American Legion Post 72 marked Memorial Day with ceremony in Ron Parks Memorial Park that was attended by Byng Mayor Jeff Sibble, Boy Scout Troop 13 and members of the community.
In Sisters Country, American Legion Post 86 teamed with VFW Post 8138 and Sisters Band of Brothers hosted a Memorial Day tribute in Village Green that honored the fallen of America's conflicts, from the American Revolution to the Global War on Terror.
· In Clearfield County, the community gathered for a graveside service at Morningside Cemetery in Dubois hosted by American Legion Post 17. Post 17 Legionnaire Joseph Glazer was the main speaker, saying, “Once again, we gather here as free Americans to remember our honored dead of all wars. The United States has existed for 247 years, and many a young man has marched off to war to defend our freedom. Most of them returned; some did not. The ones that didn’t, we honor on this Memorial Day.”
· In Punxsutawney, American Legion Post 62 hosted a Memorial Day parade and ceremony. Parade units marched down Union Street to Barclay Square where the public gathered for a ceremony following the parade.
· In Towanda, American Legion Post 42 hosted its annual Memorial Day service that included a special guest speaker, poetry recitals and musical performances. “It’s an honor to pay respect to our fallen comrades that didn’t make it home,” said Post 42 Chaplain Reg Douglas.
· In Beech Creek, the annual Bitner-Bechdel American Legion Post 623 parade traversed multiple communities and included a short memorial ceremony and wreath laying service at the Baptist Cemetery, a 21-gun salute at the Church of Christ Cemetery in Blanchard and at the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Beech Creek, before finishing at Post 623. At the post, a ceremony was held and a wreath placed at the granite Community Service Monument, which features the names of community leaders, veterans and first responders who have served their country and the community.
· In Kutztown, American Legion Hoch-Balthaser Post 480 sponsored the Kutztown Memorial Day parade and ceremonies. The parade stopped at Fairview Cemetery for a ceremony to honor fallen veterans. The route then backtracked to Hope Cemetery for a ceremony. Kutztown Mayor Jim Schlegel, vice commander at Post 480, led the ceremony.
In Meade County, Rock Creek American Legion Post 324 hosted the Native American Veterans Memorial Service at Black Hills National Cemetery. The post’s honor guard presented the colors, while Department of South Dakota Alternate National Executive Committeeman Fred Nelson was a guest speaker.
· In The Colony, Holley-Riddle Post 21 hosted at ceremony at Grandscape that focused on paying tribute to deceased veterans. The public also was given the opportunity to their loved ones who served were honored individually one by one.
· In San Antonio, representatives of the 20th district of the Department of Texas read the names of all those interred at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery over the past year on the Saturday before Memorial Day.
In Barre, American Legion Post 10 teamed with the City of Barre and other members of the Barre Area Veterans Council to conduct a Memorial Day parade.
In Newport News, American Legion Braxton-Perkins Post 25 hosted a Memorial Day Ceremony and picnic that was attended by U. S. Rep. Bobby Scott, City of Newport News Councilwoman Dr. Patricia Woodbury, and Menchville High School Air Force JROTC members.
In Wapato, Wapato American Legion 133 conducted a Memorial Day observance on the Wapato Reservation Cemetery on Monday as visitors walked the rows of graves. The post put on the ceremony in conjunction with the Yakama Warriors Association. Before the ceremony, volunteers placed small white crosses on the graves of fallen soldiers, made by students at Wapato High School.
Post 133 Legionnaire James Alexander, a U.S. Army and Army Reserves retiree and Yakama Nation police officer, read a Memorial Day speech provided by American Legion National Headquarters, saying, “The men and women who died for our freedom represent the diverse patchwork that is the United States of America. They were rich and poor; Black and white; male and female. They were from cities, farms and suburbs. They came from every ethnicity, background and political spectrum. In short, they looked like anyone of us. Their one common characteristic is that they all took an oath to die for America if called upon.
“So let us take this time to remember and honor the men and women who have given their lives for this great country. Let us reflect on their courage, their sacrifice and their dedication to a cause greater than themselves.”
· In Elkins, American Legion H.W. Daniels Post 29 hosted its annual Memorial Day observance, moving the event from the All-Veterans Memorial to Post 29 due to inclement weather. The program featured keynote speaker Ret. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Johnnie Ross, who served with the 561st Corps Support Group during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Post 29 Commander John Miller was the emcee for the program, while Elkins Mayor Jerry Marco also spoke.
· In Williamstown, American Legion Post 159 headed the Williamstown Memorial Day parade, which stopped at Riverview Cemetery for a wreath laying for deceased veterans by Auxiliary Unit 159. A flag disposal ceremony and lunch followed.
· In Parkersburg, American Legion Post 15 and VFW Post 1212 held a Memorial Day observance at the veterans plaza at City Park. Wreaths were laid for deceased veterans and an honor guard fired three rifle volleys in their honor. “We don’t know them all, but we owe them all,” American Legion Post 15 Chaplain Joe Thorpe said during the ceremony. Post 15 Commander Lee Starcher and VFW State Inspector David George also read the names of 36 local veterans who have died in the past year.
· In Follansbee, Emrys Watkins American Legion Post 45’s Memorial Day service included remarks from Mayor David Velegol Jr. and American Legion Department of West Virginia Vice Commander Keith Brown, the chaplain at Post 45. Brown spoke of Post 45’s namesake and also of Salvatore Stillitano, who were both killed in action while serving in France during World War I. “It’s because of heroes like them, that we’re here today,” said Brown, who read the names of local veterans who lost their lives while serving their country.
· In Whitewater, American Legion William Henry Graham Post 173 conducted a Memorial Day parade, which was followed by an observance at the Armory gym.
· In Sparta, American Legion Post 100 took part in a mass at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery, provided honors at two additional cemeteries, took part in the Memorial Day parade and then hosted a lunch.
· In Rice Lake, American Legion Post 87 conducted graveside services before hosting an observance at Veterans Memorial City Park.