Plans are now in place for the 2021 Memorial Day commemoration on Monday, May 31. As usual, there will be a parade in Beaverton. Lineup will be at 1 p.m. at the municipal parking lot near the community center. The parade will step off at 1:30 p.m. on Brown Street and proceed to M-18, then north over the bridge to the memorial at Ross Lake Park. A traditional memorial service will be offered by local clergy, members of American Legion post and members and Auxiliary of the former VFW post 7303.
The celebration of Memorial Day, or what was once called “Decoration Day,” has been a national ritual since 1865. It provides us, as a nation, a community and as individuals, an opportunity to remember and honor those who answered the call to serve their nation in a time of crisis and war, and who made the ultimate sacrifice for that nation and for the freedoms we enjoy.
As mentioned above, Beaverton’s celebration will be marked by a traditional parade and memorial service. There will be a marching band, fire trucks, and plenty of people waving flags. At the head of it all is the color guard, the men and women who carry the official flag of the parade. This flag should be given special honors, not just because it is an American flag, but because of the people and the sacrifices it represents.
As that flag approaches it is an opportunity to pay our respects for every person who has died in defense of our nation and of our freedom. It is traditionally appropriate to stand, stop any conversations, face the flag, remove any hat and place it upon the left shoulder such that the hand holding it is covering the heart. After the flag has passed, it is also appropriate to give a little cheer as affirmation for the gift given to us by those we honor. This is not the time for political statements.
It does not matter if one is for or against officials, policies, current military actions or any conflicts we may have with our government or leadership. When we stand in silent respect as this flag passes, it is to honor and respect
see Memorial Day, page A-4 the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors and even perfect strangers who have blessed us by their very personal sacrifice.
Parents should prepare their children ahead of time to know that it is not appropriate as the honor guard approaches to run, yell, or play. Even very young children can understand this, and should be taught that there are appropriate times and places to play; the moment the flag is passing and everyone is standing in respect is not one of them.
Families are encouraged to join the end of the parade and follow it to the monument for a brief memorial service. Once the service starts, it should be considered a solemn time of quiet reflection upon the privileges that have been bestowed upon us, and those whose lives were given in payment for those blessings.
The service will start with a greeting and welcome, followed by one or more invocations, prayers or brief messages about the meaning of Memorial Day and of the sacrifices that are the reason for the holiday. When the national anthem is played, it is certainly fitting and proper that all who can, should sing along in full, proud voice. It is not necessary to cover your heart, unless you are so moved, but hats should be removed, conversations should cease, and all should rise and face the flag as it slowly ascends the pole, reaching the top of the pole just before the anthem concludes.
This year, the memorial service will include the dedication of a memorial bench to honor the memory of the former VFW Post 7303 that was founded in Beaverton in 1946. In 1976 it was moved to its recent location on M-18 between Gladwin and Beaverton, and expanded to include member of the former Gladwin Post 3731 which had originally organized in 1938. Sadly, VFW Post 7303 has now been disbanded. The ladies auxiliary and the Beaverton Historical Society have joined forces to appropriately memorialize the organization and its members. A second bench will honor the American Legion Post 171, originally organized in Beaverton as the Manley Morris Post, will be dedicated next year.
The service will conclude with the presentation of wreaths at the monument, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps. This is the most moving and sacred moment, and should be observed in complete silence. Those who can are asked to stand with hats off during the salute and taps. Those in uniform should follow the orders of the commander of the honor guard. All participants should remain at silent attention until the commander issues the “Order Arms” command to his honor guard. It is not appropriate to cheer at the end of taps as is done at the end of the National Anthem.
Every person who has honorably served their nation in uniformed service is asked to behave exactly as they would in uniform, come to full attention and salute the flag in the proper manner expected of uniformed service. This is recognition that anyone who served in any branch of United States military remains an important part of our nation’s freedom and heritage.
The 2009 National Defense Authorization Act contained an amendment to allow non-uniformed service members, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag, pledge of allegiance, honors (i.e. Taps), or any other saluting situation. There are those who don’t agree that non-uniformed people should salute instead of placing their hand on their heart. That is fine too because it is an option, not a requirement for those not in uniform.