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VFW commander: Memorial Day calls for reverence, reflection

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Photo by Kaylee Dunham The flag was raised then lowered to half staff by Tom McLamb before the singing of the national anthem by Maryann Rathburn.

Red, white and blue flags flew gloriously in the warm morning breeze at the Cedaredge Cemetery on Memorial Day.

Gary Tollefson, VFW Post 9221, opened the ceremony by reminding everyone the words "Happy Memorial Day" mean more than many people realize.

"That greeting galls me as it seems to minimize the reverence of this day. I see it in the papers advertising cars, outdoor furniture, barbecue grills, etc.," Tollefson said, "There is room for a bit more reverence on this holiday."

While this doesn't mean everyone has to remain sad for 24 hours, Tollefson urges each person to pause and take a moment to remember the men and women who lost their lives so that all Americans can have their freedom.

In 1868, May 30 was designed as a day for fallen soldiers to be remembered and honored with the placement of flowers and decorations on their graves.

Tollefson said, "In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed but post and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."

After a prayer by the chaplain, Tom McLamb read a roll call of the flags flying for each fallen soldier at the Cedaredge Cemetery. World War II veteran Phil Ellsworth played "iI Silenzi" on his harmonica.

Bill Hendrix rang the bell three times and signaled for the rifle salute.

The ceremony was brought to an end with a long salute. Tollefson said, "Comrades in the silent land beyond, wherever your mortal remains may rest, these solemn services we hold tribute to you."

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Tags: 
Cedaredge, Memorial Day, veteran, VFW
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