Residents of and visitors to Fort Scott honored fallen heroes of the United States of America Monday with a Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery, hosted by organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1165 and American Legion Post 25, along with others.
Kevin Johnson, director of the Leavenworth National Cemetery Complex and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom II and III, said many people confuse Memorial Day with Veterans’ Day, admitting he himself did the same before he served in Iraq. Johnson stressed that Americans should take time to remember those soldiers throughout the country’s history who did not get the opportunity to become veterans, but made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country.
“The first day you lost a brother you understood what Memorial Day was,” Johnson said of when the holiday truly gained meaning for him while he was serving in Baghdad in 2004.
American Gold Star Mother Jennifer Jackman also spoke during the Fort Scott event and praised the city and local organizations for their care for the local cemetery, which she described as beautiful.
“What a wonderful way to remember our fallen,” Jackman said of the many flowers throughout the cemetery and especially the American flags placed at each grave.
Jackman also encouraged listeners to take time to visit private cemeteries and look for similar headstones and flags marking the places where other veterans are buried outside the national cemetery.
In his invocation of the event, Reverend Chuck Russell encouraged those in attendance to make sure they never forget America’s fallen heroes, but that they also make sure their children understand those sacrifices as well, since anything less could be a disservice to those men and women who died to protect the freedoms Americans enjoy.
“We answer a call and do what we’re told,” Johnson said of himself and his fellow soldiers. “And that’s why we’re all free today.”
The event also included an honor volley, Taps, the Gettysburg Address, pledge of allegiance led by a local boy scout and the reading of General Logan Order Number 11 concerning the purpose and origins of Memorial Day.