The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer/Quill Publisher
A large gathering of patriotic citizens stood in respect for the United States Flag and the veterans who carried them during La Harpe's annual Memorial Day service Monday morning, at the La Harpe Village Park.
American Legion Auxiliary member Dorothy Plank welcomed all to the service prior to the La Harpe Jr. High Band performing the "Star-Spangled Banner" under the direction of Ms. Stephanie Mencel. Dorothy Plank led the Pledge of Allegiance and Veteran and Legion Chaplain Michael Blythe gave a prayer.
A beautiful poem entitled "God Bless America" written by Helen Steiner Rice, was read by Donna Reeder. Melissa Burt sang "God Bless America Medley and Jeannie Jones sang "Have You forgotten".
Darrell Kraft, American Legion Commander, gave tribute to all those who fought in wars, especially P.O.Ws and M.I.A.'s. (prisoners of war and missing in action).
"They had their freedom and rights taken away from them, while protecting ours. We owe them a great big thanks."
He asked the community to notify him of any MIAs from the area.
He also gave a great big thank you to the Doug and Carol Palmer family for contributing funds from their son, Josh's memorial to buy a second bugle.
"Now we can play Taps and follow up with a echo at services of veterans," he said. Funds were raised by the Legion members for the first bugle.
Kraft also commended Holly Willdrick, reporter at the Quill, for her weekly articles on the veterans in the Meet Your Neighbor column, saying it will be a historic record for years to come.
"Let's all remember the thousands of men and women serving our country, protecting our rights for freedom so we can meet and celebrate as we are today."
Mayor Kenny Brown, welcomed everyone to the service. He shared a story he had received of a soldier bringing home the body of a fellow serviceman.
Mrs. Plank presented five new flags purchased by the Auxiliary for the American Legion representing each branch of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Kraft thanked Plank and the Auxiliary and said they will try to take the veteran's branch flag to military services.
The La Harpe band played "Armed Forces on Parade" and Chaplain Blythe closed with prayer before the Legion Color Guards retired the Colors.
The band played "American, The Beautiful" and the La Harpe American Legion gave a "twenty-one gun salute" in honor of all fallen veterans.
Taps were played by Lindsey Pollock and the echo by LaShay Rodeffer followed by a second Taps and echo in each corner of the park.