The Gladbrook/Lincoln area Memorial Day Services were conducted on a very nice warm day, May 26th, a very nice warm day. The service was coordinated by the Avenue of Flags Committee of the Gladbrook American Legion & Auxiliary and Lincoln AMVETS and Auxiliary.
Pastor Barb Muhs gave the address for our veterans at the 15 Mile Grove Cemetery, Maple Hill Cemetery, Badger Hill Cemetery, Chapel Cemetery, Union Grove Cemetery, Union Grove Beach (for those lost at sea) Crystal Cemetery, and Gethmann Cemetery. At these services there were laying of wreaths, honor guard & firing squad and TAPS.
The morning concluded with a large service held at the Gladbrook All-Veterans Memorial. A nice crowd enjoyed the service of remembrance by sitting on their lawn chairs in front of the two beautiful black marble stones.After Pastor Muhs began the program with a prayer, the G-R Band played the "National Anthem" and Legionnaires raised the flags. The American flag was raised by WW II veteran John Buskohl.
John Buskohl, (center right) WW II veteran, with the help from Gladbrook Legion Commander Terry Schmitz, raises the American flag at the Gladbrook/Lincoln Memorial Day service conducted on Monday, May 26, 2014, at the All Veterans Memorial at Gladbrook. Also pictured are Jim Bush, far left, and Carroll Wegner, far right.
Pastor Muhs stated in her address, "Last summer I was fortunate to take a trip out East. On our way to Washington D.C. to visit a childhood friend we found that we had extra time so ventured to Gettysburg to stand on sacred ground. Sacred ground that at one time was a battlefield of the American Soldier. While looking out over the hills there was indeed an eerie feeling that overcame me. In my mind I could hear the cadence of the drummers in the far off distance, the fife reaching its highest pitches and through my eyes I could imagine the scene of bodies lying where they had fallen and those around them trying to rescue them or get them the medical help that was needed.
In the next moments I heard the song, "When Johnny comes marching home again" and I went back to my grade school days of learning about the Civil War and how our country was torn between Rebels and the Yankees. And I wonder, "What did we gain from a war on our own soil where brother was fighting brother and in some cases fathers fighting sons, and I asked, What good can come out of war? As we left Gettysburg, I could still hear the distant drumming and I began to wonder how families at home survived the long days, the questioning they must have endured and the emotional trials of such a war. Gravestones marked with white marble - names and dates all a reminder of lives that one walked this sacred ground we were on.
Songs of the era, "John Brown's Body"," Ride This Train", all songs that I had learned sometime in one of my music classes. I am grateful for those songs that taught me to be sensitive to that particular part of our American History and what about the Johnny's that didn't come marching home at the end of the war. Their lives were to be celebrated as well.
And so it was that Decoration Day was began soon after the Civil War. A small way to remember those that had lost their lives in war and soon, it caught on. Celebrating and giving thanks for those brave men and women who had risked their lives to preserve a nation divided. Decoration Day has changed in dates, even in name but the purpose of the day has remained for us to gather and remember the brave men and women that have given their lives for us, for our freedom. The men and women who put their lives on the line. Those men and women who heard the cadence of war and who fell throughout their days.
While at home families prayed and heard about the events of World War I through their Crosby's. Many a victrola's were cranked up and it was Nipper who relayed a hope in their lives through the words of. "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag", " Keep the Home Fires Burning"," Over There"," Sister Suzie's Sewing Shirts for Sailors", and the places of war, "It's a long way to Tipperary", "If He Can Fight Like He Can Love then it's Good night Germany." These songs not only offered entertainment but they took a bit of the sting out of the personal lives of those waiting back in the states.
WW II brought the sound of the Andrews Sister as they bopped to, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", while others croones "I'll Be Seeing You", or "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition". All the while lives continued to be lost in the name of war, families continued to grieve and soon we were involved in the Korean War. Many of the WW II soldiers were once again called up to serve. The music had changed and much of it during this time collected a country genre. Songs were about patriotism, the soldier in battle, faith and emotional pain. Songs asking for God's protection.
" Oh people let's start praying as we never prayed before,
We need the hand of God, to lead us through this war,
Give us victory in Korea and save our boys so fine,
God please protect America in this troubled time."
Since WWII we've not had the happy songs about war, Vietnam provided for us, "The Battle of the Green Beret", each war since then has shifted our minds to our nation. "God Bless the U.S.A.", " Thank You" and the list gets fewer and fewer for us to find and hear.
What has become important is that throughout this time our patriotism has been strong, soldiers support soldiers and those of us "at home" continue to support our soldiers, and the families of the fallen soldier.
I pray that on this day as we listen in silence we can hear the cadence of the distant drummer, keeping step with the comrades of each war and that we extend our gratitude for a nation that has stood strong, lost thousands in the name of freedom, to protect and provide our safe boarders. From Gettysburg and, Springfield, from Germany to Hawaii, from distant lands we can't even pronounce our soldiers have been there, giving their lives in the name of the U.S.A.
Many of us here today have not been in war, we have been at home in prayer, we have shed tears for our family members and friends as they have marched and so we pause in our minds and in our hearts to remember that freedom isn't free, war costs, and in the words of Irving Berlin,
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home. "
Two poppy and clover wreaths were laid in front of the two veterans stones by Gladbrook Auxiliary President Jeanne Paustian and AMVET Auxiliary President Karen Lage.
The service concluded by the G-R Band playing "Beautiful America" and "From Sea to Shinning Sea" followed by the benediction, the salute by the firing squad, and TAPS. G-R musicians Shelby Yates and Jesse Royer played the TAPS. Members of the Honor Guard & Firing Squad included from the Lincoln AMVETS Jim Schneider and Doug Sienknecht and from the Gladbrook American Legion Carroll Wegner, Leo Lohse, Bob Knaack, Don Hein, Jim Gethmann, Terry Schmitz, Craig Russell, Dick Denbow, Jim Bush, Jeff Theis, Theresa Theis, Sam Martens, Richard Klinefelter, Russ Rosenberger, and Dennis Haack.
Poppies and program books, with all the veterans listed from all the cemeteries, were distributed by Gladbrook Jr. members Kendra, Kayla, and Sydney Vavroch with the help of Auxiliary member Chris Hickman.
Many enjoyed the Memorial Day dinner hosted by the Gladbrook Legion & Auxiliary at the Memorial Building.