Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United Statesfound itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.We have a full schedule of events to attend this weekend, starting with a gathering of friends this evening for a backyard party (and we're hoping the rain holds off).
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.
Tomorrow Hillcrest Memorial Park will hold its annual service with guest speaker retired Army Major Ron Chatelain. Ron (below right) and wife Ann are friends of ours and are wonderful people. He was presented the Distinguished Service Cross...
...for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 5th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Captain Chatelain distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 14 June 1969 while serving as a forward observer in support of an ambush patrol engaged with an enemy force on the Bau Dieu Peninsula. After Captain Chatelain had directed fire on the hostile positions from his helicopter and had succeeded in silencing the enemy, his craft landed to take aboard casualties. Just as the aircraft set down, it was struck by rocket-propelled grenade fire. Despite his own wounds, Captain Chatelain immediately began helping the more seriously wounded crew members to safety. Organizing the remnant of the patrol into a defensive perimeter, he called in and adjusted gunship fire on the hostile positions. He then supervised the medical evacuation of his wounded comrades and directed his men to unleash a barrage of rifle fire on the enemy until a relief unit arrived.
The services at Hillcrest are at 9:00 a.m. Via The Shreveport Times:
The 36th annual Memorial Day service at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Haughton will be at 9 a.m. Guest speaker is retired Army Major Ron Chatelain, Vietnam War veteran and, as holder of the Distiguished Service Cross and several other awards including five Purple Hearts, the most-decorated living resident veteran of Louisiana. The master of ceremonies will be retired U.S. Air Force Col. George Finck, a recipient of the Air Force Cross. Representatives of area veterans and fraternal organizations, as well as active duty, Guard and Reserve units and area Junior ROTCs will lay wreaths. The Veterans of Foreign Wars 12th District Honor Guard will render a triple-volley rifle salute and the playing of taps will close the service.
The Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery near Keithville will hold a service at 11:45. There will be a procession by the Patriot Guard and retired Air Force Major Carroll Michaud will be master of ceremonies.
At the American Legion Post 14 on Cross Lake, Branch 98 of the Fleet Reserve Division will host the annual tossing of the memorial wreath into the waters of the lake. Here's a photo from last year's ceremony:
Thursday, May 30, the Disabled American Veterans, among other groups, will host its annual ceremony in the Veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport off Stoner Ave. It begins at 10:00 a.m. Steve and I tend the graves of several of the war dead there, including the Kelley brothers:
and Kenney Dean Chappell:
Around the web, I liked this story of a woman who has found a use for old flags that can no longer fly:
Susan Wells, who started the project, collects discarded and damaged U.S. flags and removes the stars. Each one is washed and pressed, then placed in a small bag with a note that reads: "I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in the U.S.A. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten."Now that's a neat project.
On a related note, we watched this documentary last night about The Ghost Army of WWII; it was fascinating. Check it out.
Wherever you are, take a moment this weekend to remember the fallen.