Philip Public Television hosts virtual Memorial Day Service
Ralph Gebes opened the virtual Memorial Day Service by welcoming all who were watching and thanking those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. He lead into the invocation, given by Pastor Kathy Chesney of the United Methodist Church in Philip, who began with a prayer.
Gebes followed with a story about the Vietnam War and a prison called the Hanoi Hilton. An American soldier, named Mike, created a crude American flag. Him and other American soldiers would recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day. The guards found the flag and took Mike out and beat him. Gebes stated when Mike was returned to his cell, he made another flag and him and the other soldiers would continue reciting the Pledge. After reciting the pledge, Jasmine Ferguson, accompanied by Marianne Frein, performed the Star Spangled Banner.
Gebes followed the performance with the origins of Memorial Day and the history of the holiday. According to pbs.org, Memorial Day was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers. Roger Porch followed by reciting Logan’s Orders (below).
Memorial Day Order*
Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868.
I. The 30th day of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remains in us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
II. It is the purpose of the commander in chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.
By Command of -
John A. Logan,
Commander in Chief
Gebes then introduced another performance by Jasmine Ferguson and Marianne Frein. The first performance was “America the Beautiful”, followed by “God Bless the USA - I’m Proud to be an American”.
Rita O’Connell read “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae (below).
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Haakon County Crooners performed a musicial selection for the virtual event. Following their performance, Doug Hauk narrated “The Last Full Measure of Devotion” over a video of various cemeteries, with the “Roll Call of the Dead” presented after. Another video was presented, this one of the headstones of veterans buried in the Philip Masonic Cemetery. Following was a video titled “Salute to the Armed Forces”.
Pastor Chesney concluded the event with the benediction, bestowing a blessing on all those who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who continue to serve. The event concluded with a performance of “Taps.”