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May 27, 2014

Veteran organizations to host memorial day service Friday

DUNCAN — Local veteran organizations and their auxiliaries will come together in celebration of those who gave their lives to preserve peace and freedom.

Dobbs-Adams American Legion Post 55, Veterans of Foreign Wars Hugh H. Cherry Post 1192, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 92 and Amvets Betty J. Wood Post 11 will host a joint Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. Friday at Memorial Park.

The program will take place on the original Memorial Day, May 30. This date was chosen for the coming service as a way to remind people that Memorial Day was intended as a day of remembrance and honor for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, instead of the beginning of summer vacation.

“We’re just trying to reemphasize  the importance of Memorial Day,” Larry Davidson, American Legion Post 55 commander and Memorial Day chairman, said. “It’s not a day to sell mattresses. It’s not a day to sell tires. It’s a day or remembrance.”

Although originally named “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day was first celebrated May 30, 1868, although the first Memorial Day-type of observance was celebrated three years earlier on May 1, 1865, in Charleston, S.C.

May 30 was chosen as the traditional date because it didn’t coincide with the anniversaries of any particular battles. In 1968, Memorial Day was changed from its traditional date to the last Monday in May.

In 2016, the traditional date and the last Monday in May will coincide.

During Friday’s service, guest speakers will be Phil Leonard, who will provide the main address, and Ed Apple, who will provide closing remarks.

The Blue Star Mothers Chapter 8 organization, which is comprised of people with spouses or children on active duty, is expected to be in attendance, too. Davidson said he hopes the Honor Guard will be able to attend Friday’s service.

When it comes to the holiday, Davidson said it’s important to keep fallen soldiers in mind as a way to reasserting the importance of Memorial Day.

“For the first 20 years I was here, they had it at Memorial Park; that’s what it was intended for,” Davidson said. “We want the emphasis to be where it needs to be.”

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