Weekend Memorial Day activities in Sedalia will begin early Saturday with local service organizations placing American flags on the graves of all veterans. On Monday formal ceremonies will be hosted at 10 a.m., by Voiture 333, 40 & 8, at Crown Hill Cemetery.
“On this particular weekend, all the service organizations here in Sedalia, the VFW, American Legion and the 40 & 8 all put flags on the graves of veterans at the three cemeteries here in Sedalia, and other outlaying cemeteries around Sedalia,” Don Barbour, 40 & 8 president, said. “The VFW has Crown Hill, American Legion 642 has Memorial Park and we have Highland Gardens.”
Barbour added that they would begin at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Everyone who helps place the flags on Saturday morning are invited to breakfast at the American Legion building on West Main (Street), courtesy of the 40 & 8,” he said.
Information provided by VFW Post 2591 member Larry Stevenson said those who wish to have a flag placed on veteran’s grave should mark the grave with a removable stake with a white piece of cloth 20-inches or longer. The stake will be removed and the American flag placed at the headstone.
The flags are on loan from the VFW and will be removed Monday after 6 p.m. and stored for next year. Should a flag that belongs to an individual be removed by mistake, Stevenson said to call the VFW with the name and location of the headstone and the flag will be replaced.
Monday’s events at Crown Hill will include a special speaker and a the Laying of the Wreaths ceremony for all conflicts from World War I to present.
“We will have a speaker, (Walter C.) Cliff McBride (Jr.),” Barbour noted. “He’s a member of the 40 & 8 and is a Marine retired Lieutenant Colonel who lives here in Sedalia. He’s very actively involved in the Boy Scouts program here in Sedalia and active in our post. He’s second generation (military) and his son will be the third.”
Those involved with the Laying of the Wreaths will be George Fairfax, past commander of American Legion Post 15, and his wife Peggy, representing World War I; Larry Reven, VFW Post 2591 commander, and Kathy Wright, ladies auxiliary, representing World War II; Ernest Parker, Voiture 333, correspondence, and wife Susan, Dames president, representing Korea; Jim Gaertner and wife Micki, Voiture 333, representing Vietnam; Denny Koenders, lifetime member of the VFW and publisher of the Sedalia Democrat, representing Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill Neff and wife Shirley, Voiture 333, representing all other conflicts.
Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher will present the Pledge of Allegiance and Roy Bemiss, a Whiteman Air Force Base veteran, will sing the National Anthem.
After the Crown Hill ceremonies there will be a flag retirement at 11:30 a.m. at Liberty Park. A dinner will follow at noon.
“We ask anybody that wants to bring their flags to be retired, bring them to us there at the park,” Barbour said. “This year the ceremony for the retirement of the flags is going to be done by an Amigos de Cristo Boy Scout that is working toward his Eagle Scout badge.”
Dalton Shepard, of Amigos de Cristo Boy Scout Troop 300, will be in charge of the flag retirement.
A Memorial Day Ceremony will be hosted at 10 a.m. Monday at Crown Hill Cemetery followed by a dinner from noon to 3 p.m. at Liberty Park’s north pavilion. The meal will consist of a hamburger, hot dog or Polish sausage, baked beans, chips, dessert and drink. The cost is $5 per person. Everyone is invited. Proceeds for the dinner will go toward Voiture 333, 40 & 8 nursing scholarships, Smith-Cotton JROTC trophies and plaques, downtown Sedalia flags and flags for first graders and other area programs.
For more information about the American flag placement on veteran’s graves call Larry Brooks at 827-3044 or Larry Stevenson at 826-2396.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.