Local veterans lower the flag on Memorial Day

By JESSICA PETERSON

Progress

Local VFW members l to r Sterling Akers, Stacy Nelson, Michael Moriarty and Darcy Bushman fold the flag at the end of a flag retirement ceremony on Remembrance Day. PHOTO VERNON ROBISON/Progress

A small group quietly gathered at the entrance to the Pioneer Cemetery in Overton on the evening of Memorial Day, May 30. The group, led by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Elwood Perkins Post 8336 and its auxiliaries, respectfully observed the day with a flag retirement service in memory of American servicemen who have fallen in the line of duty.

It was a beautiful, unusually cool evening for late May. A dozen onlookers arrived early to pay their respects and visit the graves of loved ones in the cemetery. The evening ceremony generally sees lower attendance and is perhaps more thoughtful and intimate than the early morning flag-raising ceremony.

At 7 p.m. sharp, the color guard formed a line at the entrance to the cemetery. Local veteran Darcy Bushman led the way, followed by VFW members Sterling Akers, Michael Moriarty and Stacy Nelson. Each member was dressed in full VFW uniform as they marched from the cemetery entrance to the mast.

Bushman lowered the flag and members of the flag party came forward to carefully gather it and gently fold it. The flag was then respectfully carried from the field, flanked by the rest of the guard.

VFW members returned to perform a brief but solemn memorial service. One by one, they climbed to the base of the Veterans’ Memorial to lay a wreath, flag and red, white and blue flowers. Each object symbolized the virtues of their fallen comrades: remembrance, purity, devotion and eternity.

“[These emblems] immortalize the acts of bravery of our service members who gave their lives on land, at sea and in the air, said VFW Assistant Junior Vice President Lorraine O’Dell.

The services ended with a moment of silence and a quiet salute from the veterans’ line. All attendees stood and placed a hand over their hearts as a recording of “Taps” played.
“Thank you for coming, all of you,” Bushman shouted as the crowd dispersed.

The VFW Auxiliary holds a Flag Raising Ceremony at 7 a.m. and a Flag Retiring Ceremony at 7 p.m. each year on Memorial Day. Community members are encouraged to come out and support local veterans and remember those brave soldiers who gave their lives for their country.

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