Veterans’ contributions recalled

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Bill Shirley

Rain showers moved Memorial Day services to the Iola American Legion building Monday morning.
Bill Shirley, speaker for the event, said the intent to honor veterans was just as pronounced there as it would have been at Highland Cemetery.
He noted that many of those gathered — the house was packed — “can remember when Memorial Day was a fixed date (May 30) and also called Decoration Day. It was changed in 1968 to the last Monday in May.”
Not all have agreed with the change, Shirley said, but “my personal feeling is that as long as we take the time to pay our respects, it makes no difference. Of course we should pay our respects to the veterans and active military every day of the year.”
He recalled that throughout the world services were being held on Monday, “especially for the ones who never got a chance to grow old. Since World War I and World War II, we have buried 104,366 soldiers in American national cemeteries in Europe. And in Asia we have 36,282 buried.
“I have had the honor and privilege of being at some of the American national cemeteries and I can tell you from personal experience how well these cemeteries are kept by the host countries.
“We owe to our fallen soldiers not to allow their sacrifices to be forgotten and it is important to remember those who have served. All gave some. But please remember, some gave all,” Shirley said.
The Iola Municipal Band opened ceremonies with the national anthem and closed with “America the Beautiful.”
Wreaths were placed by Robert Nelson, commander of the American Legion, Wanda Lytle, president of the America Legion Auxiliary, John Stranghoner, Sons of the American Legion commander, John Wagner, chef de gare of the 40 et 8 and Jeri Myers, la presidente of Le Societe de Femme.