Post 1336 to mark Memorial Day with ceremony

Staff report

Post 1336 will join the community in saluting the men and women who served in defense of our nation, paying particular note to those from the community 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 I to Vietnam and 24 of them did not return home.

St. Juvin Post 1336 Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 29 on the campus of Coal City Intermediate School, 305 E. Division St., site of the community veteran’s monument.

Commander James “Hoppy” Phillips reports post members will gather at 11:30 a.m. and a three round rifle volley will take place at 11:45 a.m. and will be followed by a reading of the names of those from the community who died in service.

Taps will be played, a prayer given by the group’s chaplain and then post members will raise the American flag and the flags representing each branch of military service from half to full staff.

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.

The Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission [GCVAC] has announced Memorial Day ceremonies will also be held at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, at 11 a.m. on Monday. The national cemetery is located at 20953 W. Hoff Rd., Elwood.

Volunteers are needed to set up grave site flags ahead of Memorial Day. This will take place on Friday, May 26 beginning at 9 a.m. Those willing to help should meet at the main flagpole. Assistance is also needed on Tuesday, May 30 to remove the flags. This volunteer opportunity begins at 8:30 a.m.

Locally, Memorial Day observations will take place at Mazon Park beginning at 11 a.m. on Monday. The ceremony hosted by Mazon American Legion Post 352 and the John Martin Steele VFW Post 6049 in Morris will observe the day with a parade that starts from Chapin Park at 10:30 a.m. to a ceremony on the Grundy County Courthouse lawn at 11 a.m.