Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
The program at Veteran’s Park honored veterans of all wars who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Lakeview High School JROTC presented the colors to a standing room only crowd. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by James Gay and Sara Puryear Dunn sang the National Anthem. Donna Masson recognized Gold Star families.
Starting in World War I, the families of US soldiers and sailors often flew flags that had a blue star for each member of the family that was serving in the military. If one of them died in battle, the blue star was changed to a gold star. In August of 1947, the United States Congress authorized the military to present a gold star lapel pin to the family members of those killed in action. That first pin was a simple gold star on a purple background with a laurel wreath around the star. Another pin — this time a gold star with a gold background and four oak sprigs around the star — was authorized by Congress in 1973. It was awarded to the next of kin of service members who die during military service.
Mothers present at the ceremony who lost sons or daughters during their service were presented bouquets of yellow roses.
Taps followed the roll call of parish veterans who passed away since last Memorial Day was given by Deanna Fowler and the Rev. Frank Fuller.
Bro. Steven Harris Sr. closed the ceremony.
Flowers and the military:
In World War I, a Canadian officer wrote a famous poem titled “In Flanders Fields” about the bright red poppies growing between the graves of fallen soldiers on the battlefields in Belgium. It is said to represent the blood of fallen soldiers, but also new life and hope amidst desolation. This is why you find VFW members giving away little red crepe paper poppies when you make a donation. Poppies also represent consolation and eternal sleep in the language of flowers, making them an excellent choice for Memorial Day. Unfortunately, poppies do not keep well as cut flowers, but if you can plant flowers in the cemetery you may want to consider this one.
Hydrangeas (there are several in Veteran’s Park) are one of the few flowers that come in true blue, making them perfect to pair up with red and white flowers. Of course, they also come in white. Hydrangeas in general mean perseverance in the language of flowers, perfectly representing one quality that soldiers must have.
Have you ever wondered why we lay wreaths on Remembrance Day? The tradition of using wreaths to show respect is actually a very old one. Greeks and Romans often wove bay laurel tree leaves into wreaths to be worn as crowns by the victors of sporting events (like the Olympics!) or military campaigns.
Ever since, the foliage of bay laurel trees has been a symbol of both victory and death. That is why wreaths are laid at commemorative ceremonies around the world.
Yellow roses are given by friends of the deceased to symbolize their strong ties.