Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

A large group of Wellington citizens and visitors filled in around the Veteran’s Memorial Monday at Prairie Lawn Cemetery for the Annual Memorial Day celebration.

After a brief welcome by American Legion Post 90 Commander, Bernie Maston, the Boys Scouts from troops 303 and 304 raised the large American flag to which Melanie Dawson played the National Anthem.

During Maston’s welcome he talked about Manual Soria who passed away recently, who’s flag marker was attached to the flag pole within the Memorial section of the cemetery.

Soria was a WWII veteran that served in North Africa, Brisbane, Australia, Midway Island, and the Philippines.

Soria was the only son and heir of a family, and under policy of the government and military was exempt from military service. A policy that Soria ignored according to a prepared statement that Maston read.

After discharge, Soria joined the National Guard where he continued to serve for an additional 38 years.

“During that time he joined the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars where he served assisting all veterans in any way needed,” Maston said. “He continued to serve the American Legion for 70 to 75 years until his passing. He was a major force in keeping the Legion alive and in operation through these years, twice serving as its Commander.”

Maston informed the crowd that Soria was instrumental in the development of this Avenue of Flags program that started out with 22 flags.

David Carrol read General John A. Logan’s General Order number 11, dated May 5, 1868.

This order designated the observance among service member for the lost comrades.

“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land,” he read. “In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.”

Vietnam Navy Veteran Casimiro Campa gave the address.

Campa talked about service and the cost of serving for individuals who serve in the military.

He reflected on an interview by retired General John Kelly who was asked by a reporter if “it was worth the cost.” Campa also read the letter to Mrs. Bixby written by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

The Wellington Fire Department assisted with the ceremony, ringing their bell after each conflict was named for a placed wreath. As Matson read the conflicts off the bell sounded sharply reminding the crowd of how many conflicts the United States has been involved in.

While the veterans assembled in the crowd saluted Melanie Dawson and Jeremy Burden played taps closing the ceremony.