If you'd like to thank a veteran for your freedom, Don Dalquest says you're welcome to come by the American Legion from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.
"We've invited all the World War II veterans to come down and watch the World War II Memorial dedication ceremonies on the big-screen TV," said Dalquest, commander of Dorsey-Liberty Post No. 14 of the American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth St.
"It's open to anyone who wants to come by and say thanks," Dalquest said. "We want these World War II guys to know they're not forgotten."
Time is running out. America's World War II vets are dying at a rate of 1,056 a day. Only about 4 million remain of the 16 million who served.
In Lawrence, not all veterans' attention will be on World War II. Several Legion members are expected this morning at the Samuel J. Churchill Army Reserve Center, 21st and Iowa streets, for a ceremony marking the addition of three names to a memorial to Douglas County servicemen killed in Vietnam. Open to the public, the ceremony begins at 9 a.m.
Recent research has shown that three names warranted being added to a memorial plaque at the reserve center:
- Army 1st Lt. Russell Lee Harris.
- Army Master Sgt. Glenn E. Nicholson.
- Army Capt. Loyd Meredith Wilson.
"We don't want anybody forgotten, whether it's World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War or those in Iraq," Dalquest said.
Legion members will join their counterparts from the Alford-Clarke Veterans of Foreign Wars post in lining Memorial Park and Oak Hill cemeteries with hundreds of American flags, large and small.
Members from both group this morning will place small flags on veterans' graves. The larger flags will be installed Monday.
"These are casket flags that have been given to the VFW and to the American Legion in memory of deceased veterans," said John Hughes, post quartermaster at the Lawrence VFW. "They are irreplaceable, so if there's rain, we won't do it."
The American Legion's Memorial Day ceremony at Oak Hill Cemetery begins at 10 a.m. The VFW's ceremony at Memorial Park Cemetery begins at 11 a.m.
Both cemeteries are at 15th Street and Cadet Avenue.