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Salem VFW plans special Memorial Day Ceremony

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day is not just a good day for boating and picnicing. The Salem VFW Post is planning a ceremony to recognize its true meaning -- honoring the nation's war dead.

"We are planning a ceremony with a guest speaker, with a free community lunch afterward," said Commander Chuck Nelson.

The Memorial Day ceremony is planned for 11 a.m. on Monday, May 28, at the VFW Hall.

Paul Schuerenberg, a Viet Nam veteran who works at the VA Hospital at Poplar Bluff, Mo., will be the guest speaker.

Other events include the laying of a wreath and a reading of the names of Fulton County war dead. World War II veteran Bill Strauss will lead a ceremony in honor of prisoners of war and those missing in action.

"During the ceremony, we will receive a donation to be given to the Wounded Warrior Project," said Ron Beeching, who runs the county's Veterans Service office. "The Salem United Methodist Youth Group has been collecting money for a community project, and some of the kids will be present to donate $750 to help wounded soldiers and their families."

According to Beeching, the annual Memorial Day ceremony draws a good crowd, even though many people are gone during the long holiday weekend.

"We had more than 60 people in attendance last year," Beeching said. "That's about the same amount they drew in Little Rock at a big ceremony led by the Lt. Governor."

The ceremony is open to all, and is a kid-friendly event. It will begin outside, then move indoors for more activities and lunch, so people will not have to be outside too long in the heat.

The Salem VFW is located on Highway 395 North at VFW Road, next to the American Polishing plant.

Did you know? Memorial Day started in the late 1800's as Decoration Day -- a day to honor Union soldiers killed in the Civil War. Decoration Day was held the last Monday in May. Confederate organizations held their own Decoration Day, on different days in different areas of the south. By the early 20th century, Memorial Day became an annual event to honor all war dead.

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