On Monday, May 31, the entire country spent time remembering the sacrifices of the members of the United States military. In Waynedale we commemorated this national holiday by hosting the Waynedale Memorial Day parade at 9am with the American flag snapping in the breeze as the American Legion, VFW, and AMVets began the march. Flashing lights, roaring engines and the blasting of sirens from American Legion Riders, Fort Wayne’s finest Police and Fire Departments, antique cars, Elmhurst High School Band, Willy Wonka Jr., ponies, and floats were just a few among the many parade participants.
Immediately following the parade a touching memorial service was held at the Prairie Grove Cemetery pausing to honor those who gave their lives.
Heartfelt words were heard from Master of Ceremony MSgt Anthony Johnston of the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard. Tony thanked everyone for the homecoming that each member of the service was receiving when they arrive home. Johnston spoke of his tours, and his return home, “Veterans just come back (from their tour) and do what they are suppose to do…they go about their everyday duties; taking care of home and family. He spoke of President Lincoln’s letter of 1864 that was sent to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, a bereaved mother of five sons who were thought to have died while fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Quoting Abraham Lincoln MSgt Johnston related how he felt when he lost a comrade, “…I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save…” Yours, very sincerely and respectfully, A. Lincoln
With a tear in his eye and a quiver in his voice Tony went on to say, “You don’t want to forget but, you don’t want to remember experiences of war.”
Memorial Day in Waynedale was not about politics, or anti-war demonstrations or debates about which wars are “just” and which are not. It was a day to remember the sacrifices offered by so many in places so far away for reasons that are so hard to understand.
Many thanks to the sponsors who continue the long Waynedale tradition of honoring all veterans on this very special day.