ELMWOOD – People from across western Cass County showcased their respect for their fellow citizens Monday morning at Elmwood’s annual Memorial Day service.
More than 100 local residents gathered at Elmwood Cemetery to remember the efforts of Americans throughout the nation’s history. The 35-minute event featured a variety of activities meant to highlight the local and national achievements of U.S. citizens. Numerous veterans and members of American Legion Post 247, American Legion Post 247 Auxiliary and Sons of American Legion Squadron 247 took part in the ceremony.
The event took place on a site where more than 175 veterans have been laid to rest. Veterans from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War are buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
Elmwood-Murdock graduate and Private First Class Dallas Romine of the United States Marine Corps posted the colors at the beginning of the ceremony. U.S. Army veteran and Elmwood resident Nathan Brettmann then raised the flag by the speaking podium as Elmwood-Murdock graduate Ashtyn Cooper sang the national anthem.
Local Boy and Girl Scouts led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Rev. Michael Burgess of St. Paul United Methodist Church provided an invocation for the ceremony. Girls State representative Madison Mills followed them with a reading of General Logan’s Order Number 11.
Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley then delivered a keynote speech. Foley served six years in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and eight years as Nebraska State Auditor before becoming Nebraska Lieutenant Governor in November 2014.
Foley told the crowd he had close ties with the Elmwood community. His wife Susan is the daughter of Vincent and Theresa Seiker, who once owned a family farm just north of Elmwood. Foley said he had helped reshingle a roof on the Elmwood property many years ago and had visited the town numerous times.
Foley said he was happy to see Elmwood residents had remembered the primary purpose of Memorial Day. Rather than focusing their day on monetary sales, he said local citizens were directing their attention toward the service of others. He said that was a pleasant contrast from the growing commercialization surrounding the holiday.
“I salute the people of Elmwood for not letting that happen,” Foley said. “Your presence today is a beautiful act of patriotism.”
The remainder of the ceremony featured several songs and memorial presentations. Robert Clements played “Battle Hymn of the Republic” on his trumpet and later joined Bruce Pratt in an echoing of “Taps.” Cooper led the crowd in a rendition of “God Bless America” and local veterans delivered a 21-gun salute. Area veterans and Boy and Girl Scouts walked near the podium and placed several memorial wreaths.
American Legion Post 247 Commander Bonnie Brewer honored three veterans for their lengthy membership in the local group. Dwight Clements was recognized for 70 continuous years of involvement with the organization. Gordon Lannin was honored for 60 years of membership and Lorens Ropers was recognized for 50 years of membership.