VFW holds Memorial Day ceremony at Copperas Cove City Cemetery
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Members of Cub Scout Pack #251 spread out across the city cemetery to place American flags at the gravesites of every veteran laid to rest in the cemetery for Memorial Day on Monday morning.
Following the flag placement and the trash pickup by the Cub Scout pack, members of the VFW Post #8577 conducted their annual Memorial Day ceremony at the pavilion in the cemetery, giving recognition and honoring the memory of the men and women who have given their life for their country.
Anna Larson, a den leader for Cub Scouts Pack 251, said that there were an estimated 40 people with the Cub Scouts out at the cemetery Monday morning, placing flags or picking up trash along the perimeter.
“I would say for our pack, I think it’s just a good reminder of just the civic responsibility, the duty to take care of their community and also to be grateful and thankful for what Memorial Day is in that sense,” Larson said about the impact of the scouts being at the cemetery and placing the flags on Memorial Day. “It’s a good reminder. Otherwise, it is barbecues and swimming pools. This is just a great way for them to one, earn some service hours and volunteer hours so that they know what that means, what serving their community means. I know for my Arrows den, we’ve been talking a lot about civic responsibilities, civic duty, and so this is like the perfect hands-on experience for this is what we’re talking about when you talk about being a citizen and helping your community.”
The ceremony kicked off at 10 a.m., with VFW Post Commander Ron Abrahamson sharing the history behind this significant day.
“Memorial Day as we know it today was born Decoration Day in Waterloo, New York back in 1866 when Henry Wells, a local drugstore owner, suggested that all businesses closed for one day to honor in a solemn and patriarch manner, the fallen soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War. A group of Confederate widows decorated the fresh graves with wildflowers. The townspeople made wreaths and crosses to place upon the headstones. Flags waved proudly at half-staff, and an American tradition was born,” Abrahamson said. “Now 156 years later, I stand before you on this proud day of remembrance and ask that you join me in not only remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of this great nation, but in truly reflecting on their legacy. There has been no other nation on Earth whose sacrifice has been greater than ours. Nowhere in the annals of history has there been a country before ours that has paid a higher price for the freedom of others. Sacred and hallowed ground at Arlington, in places like Audenarde, Ardennes, Normandy, Pearl Harbor and Manila are testament to the high cost of achieving and maintaining freedom around the globe.”
Abrahamson also quoted Gen. George S. Patton, from World War II, who said during a Memorial Day service, “In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these lived, rather than regret that they died.”
“I ask that today you embrace those words in their entirety,” Abrahamson told the crowd gathered Monday morning. “The lives of our fallen soldiers, our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our comrades, were lives not lost in vain or anguish, for each life lost has contributed to the evolution of America as we know it today. A free nation, a strong nation, a nation that stands the tallest when we stand together. So, as we stand together, today, we are reminded of the true cost of freedom, and while we as a nation mourn the lives lost, we celebrate the lives lived and are forever grateful.”
Following Abrahamson’s speech, a wreath was placed on symbolic grave, representing the fallen comrades, followed by the placing of a white flower, symbolizing purity; a red flower, symbolizing devotion and everlasting remembrance, and a blue flower, symbolizing eternity.
“Comrades in the silent land beyond, wherever your mortal remains may rest, these solemn services we hold in tribute to you.”
“Taps” was then played as both veterans and scouts saluted the memorial.
A hot dog and hamburger lunch was served at the VFW hall at noon later that day.