Hallowed holiday

Friday, May 27, 2011
Large flags line Lewisburg's bypass courtesy of the Lions Club here while Marshall County's Courthouse stands proud among the stars and strips sized for the public square garden.

Lewisburg-based American Legion Post 39 will again host two of the long-standing Memorial Day events on Monday to commemorate American soldiers who died in military service. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1509 also continues the tradition with a midday meal at Post Headquarters.

Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett is scheduled to speak at a covered dish Memorial Day Dinner at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 402 2nd Ave. N., Post Commander Larry Hastings has announced. The American Legion is furnishing the meat. Families traditionally bring side dishes and such.

At 11 a.m. on the east side of the Marshal County Courthouse where monuments to U.S. Servicemen are decorated year 'round, there are to be two speakers: Marshall County Tribune senior staff writer Clint Confehr whose remarks will associate Memorial Day with the veterans who fought and lost their lives defending the flag and the constitution; and state Rep. Eddie Bass (D-Prospect) who's been asked to make general remarks about veterans.

"In the event of inclement weather we'll move into the theater," Hastings said of the availability of the Marshall County Community Theatre.

Meanwhile, Marshall County Commissioner Seth Warf has placed 32 American flags on utility polls that line North Ellington Parkway between the Fayetteville and Nashville highways.

Warf is a member of the Lewisburg Lions Club that's continuing the traditional patriotic display established years ago. The flags are to remain in place through the Independence Day holiday weekend.

"They do look good," Hastings said.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, this weekend often marks the start of the summer vacation season. Wednesday was the last day of classes for Marshall County schools. A variety of summer programs are planned by the school system.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, Memorial Day has also been a time to continue, or perfect work in preparation for a decoration day. That's something exemplified by men with relatives buried in Middle View Cemetery, previously known as Marshall Memorial Gardens, Hastings said.

Chris Webster "took on the painting" of the front wall and where the plaque is and his uncle Kenny Webster helped mow grass as did another volunteer who remained unidentified, Kenny Webster said.

Such acts of respect and good citizenship are not unusual, nor are they done for recognition.

The privately owned graveyard on the Nashville Highway north of Farmington is on the right before the speed limit drops for Laws Hill. There's a low concrete wall in front of the cemetery.

"Most of the other cemeteries have flags," the Legion post commander said. "They were placed before Mother's Day and continue there, but the cemetery up there hasn't been kept up. We try to make sure that all the cemeteries have flags on the graves of veterans.

Legion Post Chaplain James Burns and Hastings planned to identify veterans' graves in Middle View Cemetery and place flags there before Memorial Day.

In Lewisburg, the late morning, midday remembrance on Monday concludes with camaraderie between veterans, relatives and patriots in VFW Post 1509's headquarters where the Ladies Auxiliary has traditionally orchestrated a well-appreciated repast.

Hastings acknowledged that at least one of the morning's speakers has not been in the military, but pointed out that neither has the county mayor. Previous speakers at the veterans' dinner have included local attorney Lee Bussart Bowles and others who've not been in the military service.

Liggett spoke to the veterans about four years ago. His oldest brother servered in the Korean War. He was not wounded and he made the military his career, including service in Germany.

"But we are very familiar with the families" of service men and women and their sacrifices, the mayor said.

Virtue and freedom are topics for Liggett's dinner speech, he said.