Gray, rainy skies broke into sunny blue on Monday morning as area residents gathered to observe Memorial Day.
Some attendees filled a couple sets of bleachers at Veterans Park in Fremont. Others sat in lawn chairs under leafy trees in the park with features monuments paying tribute to different branches of the military and the wars in which Americans fought and died.
“Over 1 million of American sons and daughters have given their last full measure in defense of liberty and justice throughout the 242 years that our democracy has flourished and certainly we hold those men and women in our hearts as we observe Memorial Day in 2019,” said Mayor Scott Getzschman, when issuing a proclamation naming May 27 as Memorial Day in Fremont.
Getzschman provided a brief history of the holiday, originally called “Decoration Day.”
“Since May 1868, this has been officially celebrated as Memorial Day,” Getzschman said. “The mayor and city council feel that considerable and well-deserved public recognition should be afforded to all who have served our great nation for over 151 years and continue to do so today.”
Getzschman previously had announced that councilmembers Mike Kuhns and Susan Jacobus were attending the event.
Representatives of different veterans groups and branches of the military were at the event as were those from the Fremont Police Department, Fremont Fire Department, Fremont Cadet Squadron—Civil Air Patrol and Dodge County REACT.
R.J. Riggs, commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Joseph C.H. Bales Chapter 18 in Fremont, made opening and closing remarks.
A former Fremonter, Riggs mentioned how proud he is of the community where he grew up, because of its support for veterans.
As part of the event, representatives of the different veterans’ organizations and law enforcement participated in the Laying of the Wreathes.
Veteran Russell Robinson laid a wreath at the monument honoring the U.S. Marines. Veterans representing other branches of the military laid wreaths at the corresponding monuments.
Wreathes were laid honor of veterans organizations as well.
Shannon Engel, a junior at Fremont High School, sang “Amazing Grace.”
Riggs was pleased with the event.
“I think we had a good crowd,” he said. “It went very well and we had representatives from all the units.”
Riggs expressed appreciation for firefighters and rescue squad members from the Fremont Fire Department who attended the event and were on site to help when a woman had a medical emergency.
“We’re so glad the first responders were here,” he said.
The rifle squad of the Veterans of Foreign Wars color guard presented the 21-gun salute and a bugler played “Taps.”
Attendees were invited to a free lunch at the DAV building in downtown Fremont.
Inclement weather prevented the installation of the Avenue of Flags along Military Avenue.
However, Al Martinez of the DAV said 27 American flags posted at the entrance of the park represent the nation’s history as depicted by the number of stars—representing the number of states in the U.S. during particular time periods.
For instance, one flag would have just 13 stars all the way up to the current flag with 50 stars.