It was a busy, but memorable, Memorial Day in Shreveport with multiple ceremonies and remembrances scheduled throughout the day. Steve and I made two of them.
We were invited to ride the 40 & 8 Voiture 137 train to the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Keithville. The 40 & 8 is a veterans organization and Steve was privileged to join them early this year.
We met up with friends and fellow train riders about 10:00. Riding the train was grand fun! I should have taken a group picture of us all, but I am an idiot and failed to do so. This is just part of our party:
This is the train:
There was about twelve of us riding today; we rolled along to the cemetery; our engineer, Jim, would sound the horn and run the siren on occasion and spotter Ed would fire the canon. It was grand!
Inside there are bench seats on each side where everyone can sit comfortably. The hero of the train was Janice who brought sandwiches and banana bread to snack on as we rode along!
Riding the train was a fun way to get from one event to another today and we had lots of laughs along the way.
We stopped at a gas station near the cemetery where the Patriot Guard staged and let me tell you, it was impressive seeing all those people.
I should have taken out my iPhone and made a panoramic picture of them all because you can't tell how many there were from this picture; but, I am an idiot and didn't think about that.
Steve climbed up on the front of the train to place our flag:
The ceremony at the cemetery began right before noon with the arrival of the Patriot Guard. I tried to get video of the ride-in - it went on for quite a long time, but I'm still trying to figure out this new camera and I haven't tried the video function yet.
At twelve o'clock the flag was raised from half-staff.
Steve and his friend Ron Chatelain:
Ron spoke at the Hillcrest ceremony earlier in the day; we were sorry to have to miss it.
And this is John Powell of the 40 & 8 Voiture 137, Ron Chatelain, and Louisiana state commander of the American Legion Herbert Petit, Jr., who spoke at the ceremony:
There was a rather large crowd paying their respects today:
The wreaths were presented:
Taps was played, and it was done.
We boarded the train again, broke out the sandwiches and drinks, and headed over to the American Legion Post 14 on Cross Lake for the 2:00 ceremony by the Fleet Reserve, siren wailing every now and then and the occasional canon shot!
We got there in time for a quick drink in the bar before heading out to the point for the ceremony:
The bell tolled for the fallen:
The wreath was tossed upon the waters:
Shawn Bohannon, historian for the 40 & 8 Voiture 137 captures the moment:
At the end of the day we boarded the train once again and headed back to our car.
By 4:30 we had the grill fired up and loaded down with alligator sausage and chicken. It was a solemn day of remembrance but I was glad to share it with good friends.
And thanks to our engineer Jim for letting me ride his train!
Thursday, true Memorial Day, the Louisiana Disabled Veterans group will hold a ceremony at Greenwood Cemetery located on Stoner Ave., just south of downtown. The event begins at 10:00 and is a favorite of ours. I encourage you to attend if you can. The veterans section there is quite old and has graves dating back to the Spanish American War.