Memorial Day is a day that should never be misplaced or forgotten. On Monday, millions of Americans will stop and take time to reflect on the men and women who paid the ultimate price while keeping our country safe.
Here in Coronado numerous civilians, veterans and active military will gather at Star Park Circle to pay homage to those men and women. It’s an event the entire city is invited to attend. It’s an event everyone of all ages should be part of.
The Memorial Day tribute takes place on the grass at 10 a.m., hosted by . Following the one-hour salute everyone is invited to attend a floral tribute and enjoy refreshments at the VFW Hall, 557 Orange Ave.
This year’s ceremony will be called to order by VFW Post Commander Chuck Lucas, followed by a Presentation of Colors led by cadet Greg Cotton of the National Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Kathleen Dugas will sing the National Anthem, while the NJROTC retires the Colors. The invocation will be presented by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Scott Adams and
Mayor Casey Tanaka will read a proclamation designating the day’s importance, followed by a reading of the 23rd Psalm by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Turner.
The guest speaker is retired Navy Capt. Jack Ensch, a former POW with more than 3,000 flight hours and more than 800 carrier landings. For service to his country, Capt. Ensch received the Navy Cross, three Legion of Merit Awards, two Bronze Stars (with Combat “V”) and two Purple Hearts.
Part of the annual tradition of Memorial Day in Coronado involves a reading of “General Logan’s 11th General Order.” As in past years, the significant and moving document will be read by a Coronado resident, retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John Clampitt.
This traditional speech explains how Waterloo, New York is given official recognition as the birthplace of what was then called “Declaration Day,” as it builds into a dramatic telling of the “why” of Memorial Day.
That first service was held May 5, 1866, and over so many decades, the spirit of Memorial Day has not been forgotten, even if the details of it might have faded a little with time.
The commemorations went national when, in 1868, Major General John A. Logan, Commander of a national organization of Union veterans called “The Grand Army of the Republic,” wrote and read his “General Order No. 11.”
That order officially designated the last Monday of May 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” (the Civil War).
Logan’s letter continues, “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 comes next in Logan’s letter has become the foundation of pride that reverberates throughout our nation to this day. Logan asked:
“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.”
This abbreviated text from Major General Logan’s letter has survived the gauntlet of time. But more so, the spirit of his letter continues to resonate across this country as we prepare to celebrate the memory of our fallen military members on Monday. Star Park will be just such a celebration.
For more information on the Coronado VFW Memorial Service, contact Michael Turner at (619) 865-4809 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Coronado's VFW Post is named for General Henry D. Styer.
Submitted by Joe Ditler of Part-time PR.