The day started early at Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery at 9:30. The cemetery was full and there was no parking. Parking was available along the street and some parking lots along the street.
It was great to see all of the flags as we entered.
As we approached the plaza the sight was amazing as it was full of people and there were so many flags of all different types it was just beautiful.
We walked by some Civil War Canons with soldiers in original uniform along the way.
The ceremony had a Parade Of Colors which included representatives of many organizations.
While taking photos I saw an older man sitting in a walker that had a seat. He saw me taking his photo and playfully put his hand over his face and smiled at me, then took his hand away so I could take his photo. A motivating speech was being made and he raised his fist in the air and smiled at me and so I raised my fist in the air too. I went over and grabbed his hand and held it and asked him if he had served in the military. He told me that he had, in the 1940’s. He told me he had served in the Army in the Philippines. I thanked him for his service. He told me that he had never been to the Memorial Day Ceremony before and that he had told his grandsons that he figured he and his two grandsons would be the only three people in attendance there. He was so thrilled to see all of the people there and the big celebration.
My 1940's soldier friend:
It was easy to see that older soldiers were enjoying getting together again. And many were being interviewed about their experiences.
There was a release of Doves.
And they played the Bagpipes.
The ceremony ended with The Riderless Horse.
One of the most touching things at the ceremony was the POW/MIA Table.
Here is a version of the ceremony I found online:
POW/MIA Table Ceremony
There is many variations of the POW/MIA Table Ceremony. We offer one here to get you started.
• 1 small round table
• 1 chair leaning against the table
• White table cloth
• T table set for 1
• Salt shaker
• Slice of lemon
• Black vase with yellow ribbon
• Black napkin
• Red rose
• Water glass inverted on table
• Hats from the various military branches
• Recording of Taps and Billy Ray Cyrus - Some Gave All.
Script: Those who have served and those currently serving the uniformed services of the United States are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and internment.
Before we begin our activities this evening, we will pause to recognize our POW's and MIA's.
We call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor near the head table. It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POW's and MIA's.
We call them comrades.
They are unable to be with their loved ones and families tonight, so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.
The single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood they many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.
The yellow ribbon on the vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted - they cannot toast with us this night.
The chair is empty - they are not here.
The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.
Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices. May god forever watch over them and protect them and their families.
(Play Taps and Some Gave All)
The table at our ceremony was set for four, representing four branches of service. Since I have such deep feelings about the POW/MIA situation this was a very touching thing to see.
As we left saw many families visiting their lost loved ones. Many were wearing t-shirts with soldiers photo with birth and death dates.
From Veterans Memorial Cemetery we headed downtown to Hermann Park to see the Veterans for Peace Flag Display. Five thousand flags are arranged in a display.
Each flag has attached to it a name, a face and a date. The date is the date the soldier was Killed In Action. If you imagine each of the flags being a coffin or a body the display takes on a whole new meaning. It’s an overwhelming sight.
The price we pay for freedom is high.
There is one section for soldiers who have been killed just this year.
And at the request of a Goldstar Mother, a section of soldiers who came home from the war and chose to end their life.
They’ve made a lot of changes to the park since we’ve been there. The park was not a full as I had expected it to be. I saw a really pretty bird with a lot of purple in it’s neck.
And a cute squirrel eating some treats that someone was feeding to it.
It was a very hot Memorial Day but we had a nice ride and a nice time remembering our Nations Heroes.