When a light drizzle got heavier during the Memorial Day Parade in Gays Mills Monday morning, organizers decided to move the ceremony, planned for the cemetery, to the nearby Community Building on Main Street.
The light rain may have changed the location of the Memorial Day Ceremony in Gays Mills, but it certainly didn’t seem to dampen the spirit of those in attendance. After a short period of adjustments for the band, speakers and others, the ceremony got underway with an introduction from McComick-Rose Post American Legion Commander Ed Heisz and an invocation from Pastor Nile Sandeen.
Steve Meyer, the Detachment Commander of the Sons of the American Legion, delivered the Memorial Day address. Meyer reminded those in attendance that Memorial Day was meant to allow Americans a moment of solemn reflection and remembrance for veterans who had sacrificed their lives in service to the country.
Meyer explained that Decoration Day, the original holiday, was created to honor the sacrifice of Civil War veterans, but was later expanded to Memorial Day following WWI to honor the sacrifice of veterans in that conflict. It has since become a holiday to honor the sacrifice of veterans in all of the country’s wars.
In his address, Meyer read the poem ‘In Flanders Field.’ North Crawford High School senior Sherri Schwert also did a reading of the poem.
Women of the local American Legion Ladies Auxilliary laid wreaths in front of the stage of the Gays Mills Community Building. The wreaths are usually placed at the Veteran’s Memorial in the Gays Mills Cemetery.
Following a benediction by Reverend Sandeen, a Salute to Departed Comrades was fired on the sidewalk outside the building and ‘Taps’ were played by a member of the North Crawford High School Band.
Rain also forced the Memorial Day Ceremony indoors from the Veterans Memorial in Soldiers Grove on Monday.
A large crowd gathered in the American Legion Hall Post 220 for speeches, music, and the laying of wreathes, which was done on a display table with pictures and albums of post veterans.
Five of the American Legion William Schoville Post 220’s seven World War II veterans were able to attend the ceremonies: Bernard McCormick, Tom Walsh, Herb Helgerson, Harold Dull and Eugene Moran.
A luncheon fundraiser followed the ceremony, provided by the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary Post 220.