Memorial Day Service involves community in honoring Lansing’s fallen

50
Memorial Day
photos and story by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 27, 2018) – “Would you like a bottle of water?” Mayor Patty Eidam asked, wheeling a small cooler around to individuals and families who had gathered at the Lansing Veterans Memorial. On this Sunday afternoon of the annual Memorial Day Service, the 94-degree temperature was intensified on the pavement of the parking lot, so the Mayor’s gesture was gratefully accepted. The crowds sought out shade wherever they could find it—against the Ford Hangar, around the few trees, or under their lawn chair canopies. But everywhere was hot.

Rich Dominiak, organizer of the event and Coordinator of the Memorial Honor Guard, drew comparisons to the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq, reminding the crowd of the everyday kinds of sacrifices our service people make.

Today’s Memorial Day Service was the 26th that the Ceremonial Honor Guard has observed, starting soon after the Lansing Veterans Memorial was built. The ceremony included participation from a variety of veterans organizations and community group, including:

Memorial Day
Lansing Boy Scout Troop 276
Memorial Day
Lansing’s Civil Air Patrol Thunder Composite Squadron 317
Memorial Day
The Legion Riders from American Legion Edward Schultz Post No 697

In addition, Tess Hensley, Abigail Kleidon, and Morgan Kleidon—three young girls from Lansing Girls Softball—opened the service by singing the National Anthem following the raising of the American flag. And violinist Alexis Ochoa appeared near the end with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Memorial Day
Lawton Wilkerson, a 92-year-old Tuskegee Airman, was present at the Memorial Day Service.
Memorial Day
Mayor Eidam, an Army veteran, gave a short speech about the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. “Veterans Day is when we celebrate those veterans who are still here. …On Memorial Day we honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice—their lives—to protect us.”
Memorial Day
Village Trustees Maureen Grady-Perovich and Brian Hardy attended the Memorial Day service.

A highlight of the annual service is the Placing of Wreaths to honor Lansing’s fallen. Accompanied by stirring music, and hailed with raised flags, family members and civic organizations are called forth to place a wreath or flowers at the section of the memorial wall designating the appropriate war:

Memorial Day
The memorial wall at the Lansing Veterans Memorial has panels listing local heroes from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the war in Vietnam, and the Gulf War.
Memorial Day
Following the service, family members had opportunity to spend a moment near the name of their loved one.

The end of the service included an acknowledgement of the five wars in living memory—World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the war in Vietnam, and the Gulf War—along with the number of casualties in each. “Hopefully by next year, we will not have to add any more,” said Dominiak. “Let’s bring our troops home.”

Memorial Day
“Let’s bring our troops home,” said Rich Dominiak, Coordinator of the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It was an amazing program. Made me proud to be a member of this community. It was such a personal and moving recognition of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Kudos to all who had a part in planning and participating is this tribute.

  2. My Father was in the Korean War & I also have a Brother & Nephew that serves our country now. I am Proud of them & to all others who have served this country. This was a beautiful tribute.

Comments are closed.