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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Memorial Day program well attended

  • Veteran Sgt. Jim Valentine read General Logan's Order No. 11, which established Memorial Day, during ceremonies to honor the day on Monday at Prairie Lawn Cemetery in Wellington.
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  • By Cindy Kegley
    The Wellington Daily News
    Veteran Sgt. Jim Valentine read General Logan's Order No. 11, which established Memorial Day, during ceremonies to honor the day on Monday at Prairie Lawn Cemetery in Wellington.
    “Wellington has always had a really good turn out and I’ve always been impressed with the attendance,” said Valentine.  He said he had been attending and been involved for several years.  
    “I hope the crowd leaves with a better knowledge that their freedom has been paid for with a price and continues to do so.  Just like you and I being granted with freedom of speech.” he added.
    Charles Lawless is the VFW’s Incoming Commander and has been involved for over 30 years.  The thing he is impressed with the most is the way the VFW and the American Legion has come together to put the Avenue of Flags and the ceremony together.
    On the afternoon of May 26, several volunteers showed up to remove all flags, poles, and name plates.  It is a huge endeavor and we are truly grateful to our volunteers.  The Wellington Heat baseball team was among those helping.
    Although throughout the United States, it seems the traditional observance, knowledge, and meaning of Memorial Day is diminishing, residents of Wellington can be rest assured the honor and tradition will continue on for generations to come.   
    On Saturday hundreds of volunteers showed up to place 1,200 full-size American flags, each on its designated staff.  Each pole holds a name plate and is placed throughout the streets of the cemetery in alphabetical order which states name, rank, branch, and war each individual in remembrance served.
    That display set the stage for Monday's ceremony.
    Beginning precisely at 10 a.m. The Color Guard from Pleasant Valley Middle School in Wichita, headed up by Major Trager, honored us with posting the colors.  In keeping with tradition which was put in place in 1868, the flag was quickly raised to the top of staff then lowered to the half-staff position, remembering those who gave their lives in service of their country.  
    At noon, the flag is raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day to show their sacrifice wasn’t in vain and our fight for liberty and justice will always be a continuing effort.
    The traditional rendition of “Taps” was carried out for the 35th year in a row by Melanie Dawson Cox.  
    When asked why she does it, Dawson stated, ‘I simply wanted to volunteer my time and I’ve continued every year.”
     Her efforts were most appreciated by all of those who were present during the piece.  Jeremy Burden provided the unseen echo of Taps.
    Page 2 of 2 - Colonel Robert V. Hester said this was his first year to visit the Avenue of Flags.
      “It’s so impressive!” Hester said.  He said he had been to several similar ceremonies but had never seen anything quite like the display set up at Prairie Lawn Cemetery.  “I’m just absolutely impressed with everything,” said the Colonel.

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