The blog that shares the events and exhibits at the Lehigh Historical Society and the history of Lehigh, Iowa from the past to the present and to the future!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Memorial Day, 2012

On Monday, May 28th many family and friends from Lehigh and the surrounding area gathered in a service of remembrance for those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. The service wasn't quite the same as in the past but it was still meaningful. This year there was no 21 gun salute due to the local VFW post being dissolved. I learned of this from my brother, Doug Linn and then wrote the following letter to the Dayton Review............

Memorial Day is a very special day to remember our loved ones. The rite of decorating the graves of family members is one that began following the Civil War. I remember going to McQuire Bend with my Grandma Goldie and helping her put flowers on the graves of her parents and family. And so, I was looking forward to home to visit my mom (Mary Linn) in about a week and was planning to attend the Memorial Day service that is always held at the cemetery and the bridge. However, my brother Doug called this past Tuesday to tell me that it looked like there might not be any service. That’s because the Lehigh VFW post has been dissolved. Doug volunteers at the Lehigh Historical Musuem and had learned this news from Roger Smith, President of the Historical society. He said that Larry Greenfield brought a number of items to the museum…. papers, the charter, etc. and shared why the post had been dissolved. When Phil Scott, Commander of the Post, passed away, Larry, Post Quartermaster notified the VFW. They sent Larry a letter stating the post had 30 days to fill the position of Commander or it would be automatically dissolved. Larry sent a letter to members of the Post and held a meeting but there was no one who stepped forward to take the position and so the post was dissolved. This means that there will be no 21 gun salute at the cemetery or the bridge and there can be no graveside rites because the members had to turn in their guns. This news made Doug, Roger, me and some others who learned of this, very sad. And soooooooooooo, Doug and Roger decided they’d buy a wreath and at least that part of the observance could happen. I said I could speak or sing (I’m going to lead a song). We came up with some other ideas so I called Wanda at City Hall and then Mayor Paula Martin and we got the approval to go ahead with a Remembrance service. A few more phone calls and we had a plan. Bryan Long (Beth Hay’s grandson) will play Taps (as he has in the past). Richard Laird, pastor of the Lehigh Christian Church will offer prayer. We hope that you will come and be willing to speak the name of your loved one who has served. There will be a moment of silence in their memory and then the wreath will be cast into the river and Taps will be played. It is so important to remember those who served our country, whether during war or peace. If you are in Lehigh or nearby, please join us at the West end of the bridge at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day for this Remembrance service.
Following the service the Lehigh Historical Society will be open until 2:00 p.m. If you have a picture of a family member who has served in the military, please bring it to share that day. Also, the Senior Citizens members will be hosting their annual beefburger luncheon that day. Serving starts at 11:00 a.m.

The letter was published in the Dayton paper and look at all the folks that came to remember those who served........
Phil Harris of Lehigh was asked to cast the wreath in the river as it has been done since World War II.
Brian Long is seen walking out to the middle of the bridge in preparation for playing taps. Richard Laird who shared a reading and prayer is seen sitting next to the flag.
Approximately 50 people gathered to share in the Remembrance service. Sandi Andersen led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and then our National Anthem. Pastor Richard Laird shared a reading and then prayer. Doug Linn read a list of those who died in action and then I read names of those submitted by folks from the Lehigh Facebook page and then those in the group called out the names of their loved ones. We then moved to the center of the bridge for the wreath ceremony.  

A moment of silence was called for asTaps was played by Brian Long, grandson of Earl Hay a past Commander of the Lehigh VFW.
It was a different service than in the past but still meaningful. Following the ceremony, I learned from Brian that he has been playing Taps since he was in the 5th grade. His grandpa Earl encouraged him and what a good thing!! He has played every year since then and is now 39! What an honor he pays to all who served!
The wreath ceremony at the bridge has taken place since the end of World War II.  I didn't know what kind of wreath was used in the past so I just took a simple straw wreath and with help from Sue Ellen Linn we added flags and ribbons to the wreath and fresh flowers were added before Monday mornings service. Next year's service is already being planned. If you have ideas or would like to help, leave a comment or contact Doug Linn.
Here are a few more pictures taken at Oak Lawn Cemetary......

Those who served were not forgotten............and in an exhibit at the historical society,
Doug Linn put together a photo exhibit of those who served...........

Here's Doug and Bob Timmons looking at a book from World War I that lists those in the area who served. 
Also on display, were medals and memorabilia from World War II..........

Many of the photos that were on display were assembled at the time of Lehigh's Centennial in 1983. Doug purchased frames so they would all be "uniform" in the display.
There will be new exhibits on display during Lehigh River Days when the museum will be open following the parade to 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

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