“We cherish too, the Poppy red
that grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.” Moina Michael, 1915
By Sonia Duggan
Memorial Day is a time of remembrance for those who served our country, and thankfully there are many patriotic opportunities in the area to honor those who served. There are simple ceremonies, reenactments, banners and musical patriotic pomp and circumstance. Two of the events featured are specifically looking to honor World War II veterans, so if you know of one living in the area, please encourage them and assist them if needed so they may attend.
The Allen Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Chorus is offering a free Memorial Day concert and tribute event. Not only will you delight in music from contemporary composers but there will be activities designed to honor veterans and servicemen and women. The event concludes with a patriotic fireworks show and traditional symphony etiquette applies. Will be held Monday, May 25 7 p.m. at the Joe Farmer Recreation Center, 12-1 E. Bethany Road in Allen.
St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano invites the community to a “Salute to America,” a free concert and family picnic Sunday, May 25. Bring a picnic supper at 5:30 p.m., the church will provide lemonade and games for children. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature the St. Andrew Chancel Choir and Imperial Brass, performing a variety of patriotic and Americana music. All veterans of each branch are invited, as each branch of the military will be recognized during the program. Children will have a chance to lead a parade during the playing of a Sousa march. This year’s concert repertoire includes a recently composed musical setting of The Gettysburg Address. 5801 W. Plano Parkway.
Blue Star Banners
Since 1917, family members have hung Blue Star Banners in their windows while a loved one serves in the armed forces. To continue this tradition, city of Wylie employees and the Hale-Combest American Legion Post 315 in Wylie will present Blue Star Banners during a Wylie City Council meeting.
Families or residents within the Wylie city limits, or with children attending Wylie ISD schools, are eligible to receive a commemorative banner if a loved one is serving in the armed forces.
The banner is an 8.5-by-14 inch white field with one or more blue stars sewn onto a red banner. One star represents a single-family member serving; a banner may have up to five stars. If an individual is killed or dies, a smaller golden star is placed over his or her star.
Capt. Robert L. Quesisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry designed and patented the banner. Blue Star Banners have been widely used throughout World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War. They have also made appearances after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001.
Anyone interested in the Blue Star Banner Program can contact Lynn Fagerstrom at [email protected] or 972-516-6048.
“Salute to Heroes”
The city of Wylie will host its 6th Annual “Salute to Heroes” in Olde City Park on Memorial Day, Monday May 25. This year’s event is a special “Salute to local World War II Veterans” celebrating the conclusion of the 70th anniversary of the conclusion of World War II. The day’s events will feature both a morning program and a noon program.
The morning ceremony begins at 7:45 a.m. with a Half Staff Flag presentation. There will be featured speakers. Former Mayor John Mondy will emcee the program.
The East Fork Masonic Lodge will serve a pancake breakfast at the Bart Peddicord Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Boy Scout Troop 78 will hold a flag retirement ceremony from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Amy Moore will sing the national anthem at both the morning and noon program.
At the noon program, which begins at 11:30 a.m. There will be guest speakers along with Mayor Eric Hogue. Ms. Welch will present a program about the Ladies Auxiliary.
Randall McGuire will return for the sixth year to act as official bugler. He will play during the ceremonies and conclude with “Taps” near the end of the noon program.
The American Legion, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary and the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will have information tents from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Throughout the day the American Legion post will sell raffle tickets to help with maintenance costs for the memorial at Olde City Park. The raffle, which began in April, will continue. Tickets are $20 for a Cabela’s gun raffle/$1,000 shopping spree. The winner will be announced on June 27 during the Legion’s Chili Cook-off as part of the city’s Bluegrass Festival.
Families that wish to participate in the ceremony should contact Chuck Flesch, 214-458-9753.
Murphy Cemetery Association Annual Memorial Day Observance
The Murphy Cemetery Assoc. is holding its annual Memorial Day observance at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 23, at Decatur-Maxwell-Murphy Cemetery, located behind Murphy Middle School. Visitors are asked to bring lawn chairs, as seating is limited.
Tours of the cemetery begin at 9 a.m. with Murphy Middle School Historians presenting the military history of 13 Confederate Veterans, one Union Veteran, one Black Hawk War Veteran and one World War I Veteran at the respective graves.
The program will begin at 10 am with the presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop 1776.
Guest speakers include Murphy resident Scott Bradley, mayor pro tem of the Murphy City Council. Bradley is a retired U.S. Army Reservist, Military Police Corps, with 23 years of service, serving in support of both operations Desert Storm in 1991 and Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
Murphy resident Elizabeth McCormick will also speak. She is a former U.S. Army Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot who supported United Nations peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, receiving the Meritorious Service Medal for her excellence in service.
After their speeches, the W.H.L. Wells Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans will perform a military roll call and fire a 21-gun salute to all veterans in attendance.
The Ladies of the Black Rose will then place roses on the graves of veterans buried in the
Visitors are asked to park in the parking lots closest to the Maxwell Creek Park pavilion, located at the end of the road between Murphy Middle School and Kimbrough Stadium, off of North Murphy Road. Handicap parking will be available on the grass near the trail to the cemetery.
The public is welcome to attend. For more information about the Memorial Day service, go to the Murphy Cemetery Association’s website at decaturmaxwellmurphycemetery.org.
Sunset at Memorial Park
Head to the Veterans Memorial Park in Plano at 201 Bay Hill Drive at 7 p.m. Monday, May 25. A parade of 42 motorcyclists will arrive as they are given American flags from the Plano’s Sunrise and West Rotary Clubs. Veteran Russell Hurd will lead them down the center aisle as he plays “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes. The event will include presentations and speakers and will close with a gun salute and taps. Everyone is invited to meet the program participants at a reception hosted by the Conner Harrington Republican Women following the ceremony.
Veterans Memorial Open House
Those looking for an interesting adventure during Memorial Day are invited to take part in all kinds of military fun, as the Military Heritage Collection of North Texas will host an open house.
The annual Veterans Memorial Weekend Open House will kick off Saturday night, May 24, with a special dinner just for veterans provided by local businesses. For information about the dinner call 214-794-8992.
At 10 a.m. Sunday, May 24, there will be events such as weapon demonstrations, military uniform and equipment displays. Depending on the weather, rides are given in military vehicles, including tanks, as long as the ground is not soft due to rain. In the event of rain, there is still a host of other vehicles for guests to ride in.
The museum is located at 20798 CR 590 in Nevada. If the military vehicles don’t give it away, those looking for the collection can locate it by looking for a 500-pound bomb mailbox.