The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Don Ogle
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Remember: Memorial Day Services To Honor Fallen


This weekend officially kicks off the summer season for many, but Monday, the "end" of the holiday weekend, is the real reason for this important national holiday.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.

Memorial Day was born out of the Civil War and a desire to honor fallen soldiers. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land," he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. The holiday later became known as Memorial Day and is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.

Locally, a number of organizations will hold services honoring soldiers who have died.

Three of those, V.F.W. Porter-McGuire Post 610, American Legion Post No. 17, and Disabled American Veterans (D.A.V.) Sidney Chapter 40 are working together for Sidney's Memorial Day Service, to be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in Greenwood Cemetery.

Cheyenne County Sheriff John Jenson will deliver the keynote address, followed by the laying of a remembrance wreath. The service closes with a firing squad salute, taps and a benediction.

Lodgepole's American Legion Post No. 286 will also host a service for those in that area. The 10 a.m. Lodgepole service is at Pleasantview Cemetery, followed by a community gathering with refreshments until noon at Lodgepole's Nancy Fawcett Memorial Library.

At Potter, residents and visitors will begin their day with a service at the American Legion Hall, followed by a firing squad salute and wreath laying at the Potter Cemetery. The event begins at 10 a.m.

Dalton will hold a 10 a.m. service at the Dalton Cemetery. Weyerts Church will also hold a 10 a.m. service at the church, followed by refreshments.

The local services honor several hundred area residents who served our country and died. Nationally, more than 1.8 million men and woman have given their lives for America since 1775.


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