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Memorial Day, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Lest we not forget...

Memorial Day began as a memorial for Civil War veterans. It has become both, a National Decoration Day of family graves, and the holiday that opens the summer season. It is celebrated with backyard barbecues, outdoor picnics, and parades.

Waterloo, New York was recognized by President Lyndon Johnson and both houses of Congress, as the birthplace of Memorial Day because the town decorated the graves of Civil War veterans as early as May 5, 1866. The claim is contested by Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, which claims to have begun the practice of decorating soldier's graves two years earlier than Waterloo. Another source claims that two years after the Civil War, it was southern women in Columbus, Mississippi who decorated the braves of both Confederate and Union men. Nevertheless, sources agree that it was General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic who designated May 30, 1868, "as a day for strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, or hamlet churchyard in the land...It is the purpose of the commander-in-chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of the departed."

No survivor of that war remains, but the memories of it grow longer. As do our memories of the parades with floats; civic organizations and drum majorettes twirling their batons; lines and lines of young veterans from The Gulf War and shorter lines of older men who saw service in the Second World War. As long as there are wars, there will be veterans and casualties. We will still decorate the graves of those men whose bodies came home and remember those who don't.

The custom of placing flowers upon graves is an old one, and exists in many countries. The Greeks had rites called zoai, which were performed over each new grave. If the flowers took root and blossomed on the graves, it meant the souls were sending back the message that they had found happiness. The Roman festival, called Parentalia, or Day of the Fathers, lasted for eight days in February--violets and roses were the special flowers. Whatever the flower, wherever the grave, this placing of flowers upon graves has always seemed the natural thing to do.

Today, most states officially recognize the May Memorial Day as a legal holiday, but it is not celebrated on May 30th in every state. Over time the holiday has expanded to encompass our other national wars. Although Veteran's Day is celebrated as well, Memorial Day has become the most important day of recognition of our armed forces.

Click here to view PDF file of 2016 Memorial Day Program.  

Paul Mayer Master of Ceremony

Paul Mayer American Legion Commander was the Master of Ceremony for the 2016 Memorial Day Service at the West Carroll Elementary School in Savanna, Illinois.

Honored Guests and Men of Calvary

The National Anthem was sung by the Men of Calvary at the start of our Memorial Day ceremony which was presented by members of VFW Post 2223 and American Legion Post 148. The Men of Calvary also sang the Service Medley, Mansions of the Lord & Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones, and God Bless America during the ceremony.

MSG William Hanna our Keynote Speaker

The Key Speaker was MSG William Hanna, retired. Click here to read MSG William Hanna's speach.

Posting of the Colors

Posting of the Colors by members of the honor guard Tim Cavanaugh and Terry Miller.

Our close to 200 attendees Memorial Day Audience

We had close to 200 attendees for the Memorial Day Program.

Bell ringing for veterans that passed away since the last Memorial Day

The bell was struck as each name was read off of the roll of veterans that passed away since the last Memorial Day.

Placing of the wreath in honor of fallen veterans

Commanders Mike Raleigh and Paul Mayer place the wreath to honer our fallen veterans.

Taps were played after the 21 gun salute

Taps were played after the 21 gun salute honoring our fallen veterans.

Thanks to the Cub Scouts for passing out programs

Thanks to the Cub Scouts for passing out the programs to the attendees.

and a special thanks to Roger Husband for taking the photos of our ceremony.

God bless our Veterans and God Bless America...

For the 2007 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2008 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2010 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2011 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2014 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.
For the 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony, click here.


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Copyright © 2006 Savanna, IL VFW ~ Shaw Leavens Post 2223