Memorial Day tribute planned at Veterans Monument

On Memorial Day, American Legion Post 796 will join the community in saluting the men and women who served our nation, paying particular note to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in defense of freedom. In all, 761 Coal City area residents were called to military service from World War 1 to Vietnam. Twenty-four of them did not return home.
Legion Post 796 will host the annual Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 29, at 11 a.m., on the campus of Coal City Intermediate School, 305 E. Division St., site of the community’s veterans memorial.
During the ceremony special recognition will be given to veterans who’s names have been added to the veteran’s memorial and the 2017 graduates of Coal City High School who have announced their intent to join the military.
Featured speakers at this year’s ceremony including Unit 1 Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg, Coal City High School student Brenna Kelly, Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc, Coal City Mayor Terry Halliday and Rich Jurzack, mayor of the village of Carbon Hill.
Post 796 Commander John Gubbins will oversee the ceremony that will also include remarks and prayers from Rev. Mark Hughey, pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church, and special recognition presented by Charles Brown, commander of St. Juvin Post 1336 VFW. The ceremony will open with the Pledge of Allegiance led by members of the Boy Scouts of America and Coal City Girl Scouts Service Unit.
Remembrances of the honored war dead will once again be presented by St. Juvin VFW Post 1336 member Jack Micetich.
Memorial wreaths will be placed at the monument by Gubbins and Ray Younger, sergeant at arms for Post 796. The color guard of Post 1336 will volley and “Taps” will be presented by Caitlyn Painter, a student at Coal City High School.
The American Legion encourages all veterans and citizens to participate in the ceremony. Refreshments will follow in the school cafeteria courtesy of Post 796 and Gleaner Life Insurance—Sulphur Springs Arbor.
The history of Memorial Day dates back to three years after the Civil War ended, May 5, 1868, when the head of an organization of Union veterans—the Grand Army of the Republic—established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.
Major General John A. Logan of Illinois declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington Mansion, once the home of General Robert E. Lee.
It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then it was placed as the last Monday in May.
To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law, the National Moment of Remembrance Act, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance.
The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day for one minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.