It was a windy Memorial Day as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9022 and American Legion Post 224 joined forces at McDade Park to honor, and remember, those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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The ceremony included a small group of veterans led by Jason Dennis who served in the U.S. Navy from 1992 to 2000 as an aviation boatswains mate aircraft handler. Dennis noted the importance of remembering and honoring those who have served our country especially during the trying times our country is going through. He said the group had also placed flags on every veteran’s grave at both the Dumas Cemetery and Northlawn Memorial Gardens.

Members of the local American Legion and VFW placed flags on the grave of every veteran for Memorial Day 2020. – Photo Credit: R. Brady @McJoNews

While many events like this across America are being canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, these local veterans felt it was important to hold a ceremony, without spectators, to honor and remember all veterans.

The ceremony took place at McDade park in front of the Veterans Monument which was erected in May of 1993 by local VFW Post 9022. The monument contains the names of many local veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. A large concrete sidewalk in the shape of a cross also lays northwest of the monument. The sidewalk is paved with hundreds of bricks that are engraved with the names of area Veterans.

David Rehkopf and Mel Carter at the wreath laying ceremony in McDade Park, Monday May 25, 2020. – Photo Credit: R. Brady

The ceremony began as a chilly spring panhandle wind blew from the north. Jason Dennis read In Flanders Field, a war poem written during World War I. This was followed by Philip Rhodes leading the group in prayer. Jose Flores read the fourth stanza from For the Fallen; commonly referred to as Act of Remembrance.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Act of Rememberance – Robert Laurence Binyon
Local veterans salute during the laying of the wreath ceremony at McDade Park on Monday May 25, 2020 – Photo Credit: R. Brady

The laying of the wreath was then presented by David Rehkopf and Mel Carter to the playing of Taps. The chilly north wind continued to blow as the small group of veterans stood at attention and saluted. No spectators, just a group of local veterans making sure that all of those who have served are honored and remembered for their service to our country.

Veterans Monument May 25, 2020 – Photo Credit: R. Brady @McJoNews