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Memorial Day Plans

Source: The Pratt Tribune

By: Gale Rose

Date Published: 05/21/09

Pratt, Kan. - Memorial Day is a time to remember soldiers that have paid the ultimate price and loved ones. Monday, May 25 will offer several local ceremonies to honor the occasion.

The day will begin with special services in Iuka in honor of 125 years of Memorial Day programs led by the Iuka Memorial Association.

Local ceremonies will start at 10 a.m. at the Iuka United Methodist Church followed with additional activities at the Iuka Cemetery, said event organizer Marjorie Buck.

The Church service is non-denominational. It includes a role call of the dead as was done in Civil War times. The name of each soldier was called twice and if no answer was heard a drum roll was given to announce the soldier was presumed dead, Buck said.

The Iuka service follows that tradition for deceased Iuka veterans followed by placing a flag for each veteran in a fan shaped stand, then the Gettysburg Address is read and patriotic music is sung.

The guest speaker for this year is Lt. Col. Dave Schmidt, an Iraq veteran.

The service then moves to the cemetery for vocal music, placing flowers at the Civil War veteran’s monument, a salute to the dead and Taps, Buck said.

This is when the ceremony usually concludes but this year in honor of 125 years of Memorial Day programs a picnic lunch will be held starting at noon at the Iuka Fire Station on Main Street. Free will donations will be accepted.

A brief service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery that will overlap the Iuka service. The Pratt Army Nation Guard 1161st Forward Support Company will provide a rifle salute followed by Taps.

The Guard will then move to Iuka Cemetery for their ceremony.

In the afternoon ceremonies will resume at 2 p.m. Monday at the B-29 All Veterans Memorial at the Pratt Industrial Airport. Highlights include recognition of Gene Rose, a strong supporter of the Memorial and the B-29 Museum, who died May 12.

Guest speaker is Iraq Veteran Major Jerry Sanko, 35th Infantry Division.

The ceremony begins with a procession of American Legion Riders many with American flags on their motorcycles.

The Army National Guard, 1161st Forward Support Company from Pratt will present and post the colors.

Master of ceremonies will be Jack Ewing who will lead the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the National Anthem sung by Grace Fellhoelter.

Lt. Col. Dave Schmidt will present the invocation then Ewing will present the official welcome and introduce Pratt Mayor Jeff Taylor who will recognize all veterans.

The special recognition for Rose will be led by Jack McCawley, B-29 Museum Board Member. The recognition will include the presentation of a certificate of appreciation and a flag to the family.
Taking part in the recognition ceremony are Phillip Schulz, B-29 Museum Board president, Sue Griffith representing Skyline Schools, Taylor and Pratt County Commissioner Dwight Adams will read proclamations, Staff Sgt. John McGraw of the 1161st Forward Support Company, Ret.
Command Sgt. Major George Stevens and Ret. Capt. Bud Simmons will complete the recognition ceremony.

Students from Sacred Heart Holy Child School under the direction of Marty Hopkins will offer a combined presentation of the reading of the Gettysburg Address and singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Stevens will introduce Sanko for his keynote speech.

The 1161st Forward Support Company will present a 21-gun salute for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice followed by TAPS with Mark Graber and Dana Johnson.

The event will conclude with the Retrieval of Colors, Ewing’s closing statement and the departure of the American Legion Riders.

For more info, see this Memorial Day Program .