The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 25, 2024

Post 178 hosts Memorial Day service

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

“Today should be a solemn day but also a day of joy.”

Those were the words of American Legion Post 178 Commander Ken Myers during Monday’s annual Memorial Day ceremony at Woodland Cemetery.

“Today is not about every service member or veteran, it’s about the ones that died defending the flag, this country and the people they loved,” Myers said.

With some assistance from Van Wert American Legion Post 178 First Vice Commander Randy Matthews, World War II veteran Joe Morgan, 97, performs the laying of wreath during Monday’s annual Memorial Day Service at Woodland Cemetery. Scott Truxell/Van Wert independent

Formerly known as Decoration Day when it began in 1868, it became known as Memorial Day after World War I, then became a standardized national holiday in 1971, when Congress set it for the last Monday of May.

Myers noted 2,100 U.S. flags were placed at the cemetery prior to Monday’s ceremony.

“We as veterans proudly and respectfully placed the colors that paved the way for all of us to gather and remember the ultimate sacrifice they paid for our forefathers and for us,” Myers said.

Myers also took the time to urge those in attendance to support the planned “Walk of Honor” at Memorial Park at the Legion Post on W. Main St.

“We have at the American Legion a wonderful park that we are currently working to add monuments to honor not only those killed in action but the veterans that served during peace time or in conflict,” he said. “We currently have two monuments – one honoring World War I and one that honors World War II, Korean and Vietnam. We have nothing to honor the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan warriors, nor do we have a monument to honor just those who served during peace.”

“Our military is an all-volunteer group of brave men and women coming from all over this country and her territories,” he continued. “With that being said, less than one percent of our population serves in our military.”

He added that monuments will also honor local fire, EMS and law enforcement. Anyone may support the project by purchasing a brick or paver, or by making a direct donation to Post 178. More information can be found on Legion Post 178’s Facebook page.

Myers closed his speech with a quote from General George Patton.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died…rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

Monday’s service also included patriotic music by the Paul Hoverman Group; the Entrance of Colors by American Legion Post 178 Riders; the Placing of the Wreath by Joe Morgan, 97, a World War II veteran; a 21-gun salute and taps, and the invocation and benediction by Post Chaplin Ray Kiehl and Dick Elder. A new tradition was introduced during Monday’s ceremony – the firing of one cannon volley in honor of Civil War veterans who died in combat.

After the ceremony, a free luncheon was held for all at Post 178.

In addition to the ceremony in Van Wert, other services were held around the area, including Ohio City.

POSTED: 05/30/23 at 3:46 am. FILED UNDER: News