Memorial Day service filled with everlasting thanks for those who gave all

Jordan Gerard

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” so says John 15:13 in the Bible, and the Rev. Lane Zaffke quoted the verse to understand the commitment those in the military make.

The annual Memorial Day service was held on Monday, May 27, in the gymnasium, due to a deluge of rainy weather. The parade did not take place.

American Legion Post 249 Commander Anne Doering welcomed the audience to the service. She reminded them why Memorial Day was started.

Beginning in the American Civil War time period and shortly after, the day was started and known as Decoration Day to honor Union soldiers who died during the war.

After WWI, the day was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. The new name, Memorial Day, was used after WWII.

In his address, Zaffke said he became more aware of the military when he was preparing for college. He had a friend who signed up for the service and told Zaffke he “never expected to come back.”

“Many people said that,” Zaffke said. “We lost over a million men and women in military service. Memorial Day memorializes those who have lost their lives in the service to their country.”

He added too many Americans take the day or weekend for granted and we celebrate by having a barbecue, sales or a day off work.

“Over 50% of Americans enjoy that kind of lifestyle,” he said. “It’s amazing when you think about it; the commitment we have today that men and women sign up.”

For Zaffke himself, not signing up for the Air Force was one of his biggest regrets, but he remains proud of his son, Andrew, who signed up with the Navy.

“I’m so proud of my son ... who after four years of college with a computer degree could have made more money working other places,” Zaffke said, shedding a tear. “He signed up for the Navy and he’s still there today. He, like many of you, are men and women of great courage. We enjoy the privileges of society ... all of you who have served and are serving a great debt.”

Afterward, Second Vice Commander Christian Myrah read the roll call.

Several veterans were honored with Quilts of Honor, created by the local Quilts of Honor quilting group. All quilts are made possible through donations and talented quilters.

Veterans receiving quilts this year are: Tom Andrews (Air Force), Allen Patterson (Army), Carlyn Kraabel (Army), Adrian Moen (Air Force), Truman Wiste (Army) and Bruce Bratland (Air Force).

Despite the rain that had been coming down all morning, a firing squad, taps and wreath laying all took place in the park. 

Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops performed the wreath laying ceremony for each war or military action.