The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

May 24, 2013

Services to honor fallen soldiers

Marine League in charge of ceremony at national cemetery

DANVILLE — Before firing up the grill or heading to the pool, residents are being asked to honor those who have died while serving their country by attending one of the many ceremonies across the area Monday.

“Get out there and support the veterans who gave you the freedom you have,” said Jeff Wakeland, a member of the Maj. Kenneth D. Bailey Marine Corps Detachment 824.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died. Later, the idea was expanded to honor all Americans who died while serving.

A service sponsored by the Joint Veterans Council will start at 11 a.m. Monday at the Danville National Cemetery. The Marine League is in charge of this year’s cemetery.

“It’s a memorial service to honor all the fallen veterans who died in war or peacetime,” said Tom Barrett, commandant of the Marine Corps League. “It’s a real nice ceremony.”

In the past, 300-350 people have attended.

With this being the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, he said, the focus will be on those veterans. Korean War veteran Dennis Turner will read the Gettysburg Address and David Thornsborough will read the 11th General Order.

Also, the Patriot Riders and American Legion Freedom Riders will be there with their motorcycles, which makes an impressive sight, he said.

The event will begin with a parade of colors at 10:45 a.m., and Jay Schroeder will fly a plane over the cemetery. Musical selections will be by Jeff and Lynn Palmer,

Barrett will give the welcome and serve as master of ceremonies. Randy Shields, chaplain with the Marine Corps League, will give the invocation and benediction. Gary Reaktenwalt will give the Pledge of Allegiance, assisted by Stacy Witsman and Ryan Bloomfield.

Kelly Hazel will sing the National Anthem, and Melvin Cornell will sing a number.

The keynote address will be given by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, District 15, who also is a retired lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserve. He will be introduced by Robert Fox, past commander of American Legion Post 210.

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