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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

Fairfield does such a nice job of recognizing Memorial Day.

Take this year's activities, for example:

The 34th Army Band will march from Howard Park to Central Park at about 9:45 a.m. The band's arrival was followed by a welcome by Paul Riepe, quartermaster of the Dimmitt Vorhies Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2271.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (retired) Ronald L. Prill of Fairfield will be the speaker. Prill was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard for 44 years. He joined in 1948 as an enlisted trombone player, advancing to director and commanding officer. Under his command from 1972-1992, the 34th Army Guard Band members were both soldiers and musicians. They appeared in many places encouraging patriotism, supporting community celebrations and performing official acts with the military. The unit received the coveted Eisenhower Trophy five times, naming it the best unit in the Iowa Army National Guard.

Prill received the Iowa Meritorious Service Medal, two U.S. Army Meritorious medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the Legion of Merit Medal. For 36 years, while in the military, Prill was instrumental music instructor and music supervisor in the Fairfield Community School District.

The ceremony included Fairfield High School seniors Jimmy Simmons reading Logan's General Orders and Laura Liles reading Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Soloist Jan Hunerdosse, accompanied by the band, sang "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The ceremony included an invocation and benediction by the Rev. Marvin Robeck, pastor of the First Lutheran Church.

Following the program in Central Park, a procession will form on the west side of the square and head north on Main Street to the monument on the courthouse lawn. Patriotic organizations and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will follow the 34th Army Guard Band. Other participants can walk behind the scouts.

At the veterans' monument, the band played "Nearer My God To Thee" and "Rock of Ages." An invocation was given, and representatives of patriotic organizations laid wreaths at the monument. A 34th Army Band bugler played "Taps."

The local newspaper has a full center spread
listing the name of every fallen military person
in every war that ever was.

City volunteers place a flag in the town square
in honor and memory of each of these people at 6:30 a.m. Monday
and retire the flags at 4:00 p.m.
The VFW serves breakfast to the volunteers.
The Flag Goes By
by Henry Holcomb Bennett

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

Blue and crimson and white it shines,
Over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
Hats off!
The colors before us fly;
But more than the flag is passing by.

Sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
Fought to make and to save the State:
Weary marches and sinking ships;
Cheers of victory on dying lips;

Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land's swift increase;
Equal justice, right and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;

Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor, ----all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.

Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

2 comments:

GardenAuthor said...

Shady - Great historical perspective and glimpse of your town's activities. The poem was perfect!

Shady Gardener said...

Deb, Thanks. Could you wade through all that detail? I think perhaps I put in a little too much. I'm about to edit.