By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Memorial Day services have been scheduled at four Jefferson County locations.
American Legion Post 141 in Mt. Vernon will host the traditional event at 10 a.m. Monday, May 26, on the north side of the courthouse. In case of rain, the service will be moved to the Legion hall.
Michaela Lamczyk, a graduating senior from Mt. Vernon Township High School, will be the keynote speaker.
“We thought it would be nice to get a perspective from the next generation on what Memorial Day means to them,” said Legion Commander Hank Wulf. Three MVTHS choir members will sing the national anthem, God Bless America and America the Beautiful.
This morning, members of the Legion and its auxiliary will be placing crosses on the courthouse lawn, recognizing the 128 Jefferson County veterans who have passed away since the last Memorial Day service.
“In all my years since I’ve been commander, that is the highest number,” Wulf said. “When you get to 120, it hits close to home.” Wulf said there were no veterans who were killed in action this past year; most of those who passed were older war veterans.
Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served at the American Legion post on Main Street.
U.S. Rep. William Enyart will be the keynote speaker at the Bluford Community Veterans Memorial at noon on Monday, May 26. The colors will be carried by the honor guard from American Legion Post 141 in Mt. Vernon.
The national anthem and another song will be presented by a Webber Township High School duo, Jessica Cramer and Melina Launay. At the end of the service a special tribute will be paid by Stan Williams, flying a vintage World War II Navy T-6 Trainer over the memorial grounds.
“Since last Memorial Day the community has financed and constructed many new enhancements to the memorial, including two new monuments listing 200 of the oldest area veterans,” stated Mike Bullard, chairman of the memorial. “The memorial setting is very peaceful and relaxing. It quietly touches your heart to know such a small community gave so much of itself towards the preservation of our great nation.”
Bullard said the memorial honors every known deceased veteran from the community, some dating back to the Civil War.
Bullard said in case of rain, the service will be moved to the Bluford Grade School.
Former Mt. Vernon mayor and retired Illinois Army National Guard recruiter David Keen will be the featured speaker at services at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Knob Prairie Cemetery in Waltonville. The services are co-hosted by Waltonville VFW Post 9153 and AMVETS Post 148.
This will be the 16th annual observance, according to Joe Norris, after an absence of the service for several years.
“We done it years and years ago, kind of like a family picnic thing,” Norris said. “We started it back up around the time of the village’s centennial celebration in 1992.”
Nathan Kabat will play the national anthem on a violin and the Rev. Tim Reynolds of the Waltonville Community Church will provide the opening prayer and benediction.
The service will be held at the cemetery, rain or shine, Norris said.
Memorial Day services at Woodlawn will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 26.
Monument President Troy Poorman, who recently returned from a military mission in the Domincan Republic, will be the featured speaker.
Poorman said prayers will be offered, the national anthem will be sung and military personnel and veterans will be recognized.