Davis, Burkhalter Speak at Memorial Day Services

For nearly 150 years, American families have set aside the end of May to decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers as a means to remember the sacrifices made to protect freedom in this country.
Memorial Day 2012 was observed across the country as Rolling Thunder paraded from the Pentago to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., just miles away a wreath was laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Closer to home, here in Antelope County, we too observed Memorial Day. For some families, it was a private, quiet time as they paused in front of the tombstone of a family member or friend. Their offering was flowers and, perhaps, a prayer or spoken word, a vow to never forget.
Others gathered together at special services.
The wind swept across Park Cemetery Monday morning as people gathered for the 10 a.m. service led by American Legion Post Commander Gary Hoefer. Special music was performed acapella by five members of the senior class of Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School. Together, Jenny Beckman, Devon Baum, Justine Heithoff, Jill Moser and Natalie Beckman gathered around the microphone and performed ‘America The Beautiful’. Then, after the applause died down, they sang ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ Guest speaker for the morning service was Rev. Janet Davis. During remarks which lasted approximately five minutes, she spoke about the purpose of Memorial Day.
“We gather to honor especially those who have lost their lives in war defending our freedom. We say ‘thank you,’” she said.
Davis then spoke of how a woman in her 90s still finds Memorial Day hard to get through. “It’s a tough day for her. She had seven brothers and an uncle serve in World War II, not all came back. All these years she still feels the pain of war,” Davis said.
She closed her remarks with a prayer, asking God that there be no more wars so no more of our sons and daughters have to die.
Afterwards, prayers were read and wreaths were laid in memory of the men and women who served our country in times of war and peace. Then, a firing squad composed of local veterans performed a 21-gun salute before ‘Taps’ was played on the bugle by Lexie Heithoff.
Many of those who participated in the Park Cemetery program then headed over to participate in the 11 a.m. service at West Cedar Valley/St. Boniface Cemetery.
Many of the graves there were adorned with flowers as well as American flags. There was a large turnout for the service. Father Burkhalter of St. Boniface Catholic Church spoke of paying tribute to the service men and women and to those powerful influences in our lives who are now at rest. Then, he offered a memorial prayer.