Archive for Saturday, May 26, 2007

Volunteers have flags prepared for holiday

May 26, 2007

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Flags, rifle volleys and the solemn sound of a bugler playing taps will mark the serious side of Memorial Day celebrations Monday.

Several ceremonies and services are planned at Lawrence area cemeteries. Volunteers, many of them from local veterans organizations, are placing hundreds of flags along cemetery driving lanes in honor of veterans.

"People seem to appreciate going to the cemetery and seeing that Avenue of Flags," said Ken Fisher, a member of the American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post 14. "It's really beautiful."

For several years, Fisher led the legion's efforts to place flags at Oak Hill Cemetery, east of 15th Street and Haskell Avenue, before passing the responsibility to others this year. "We took about two weeks to prepare," he said.

Meanwhile, the Disabled American Veterans Jayhawk Chapter 22 will place flags in Maple Grove Cemetery at the intersection of U.S. Highways 24-40 and 24-59. The Alford-Clarke Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 852 will place flags in Memorial Park Cemetery on East 15th Street.

At 8 a.m. Monday, the DAV will conduct a ceremony at Maple Grove. It will be followed by the Legion ceremony at 10 a.m. in Oak Hill and the VFW ceremony at 11 a.m. in Memorial Park.

Capt. Thomas E. Arnold, commander of the Kansas University Navy ROTC program, will speak during the Oak Hill ceremony, and Lawrence City Commissioner Mike Amyx will speak at the Memorial Park ceremony.

The legion's honor guard also will appear at 11:30 a.m. services at Clinton Cemetery, where nearly 30 flags will be in place. The Rev. Dale Lewis of the Worden United Methodist Church will conduct that service.

There are at least 125 veterans buried in Clinton, said Helen Harrell, who organizes that cemetery's placement of the Avenue of Flags. Families can donate flags in honor of veterans in the cemetery.

"We'd like to have a flag for every veteran," Harrell said.

Harrell and several other volunteers start placing flags early Monday morning and then take them down at dusk.

"It's an awesome sight," she said. "Clinton's a little cemetery, but it's a pretty cemetery."

At Pioneer Cemetery on Kansas University's West Campus, the Samuel J. Churchill Camp No. 4 of the Sons of Union Veterans will conduct a rededication of a 100-year-old obelisk that serves as a memorial to more than 100 Civil War veterans buried there. The ceremony will start at 3 p.m. Monday. The Sons of Union Veterans had the monument repaired. In addition, they oversaw replacement of a copper plaque that years ago had been taken from the memorial.

At Leavenworth National Cemetery, retired Army Lt. Gen. Richard F. Keller will give a Memorial Day address during a 9 a.m. ceremony. Visitors attending the event are asked to park at the Eisenhower Veterans Affairs Medical Center's flagpole and take a shuttle van to the ceremony. The van will begin operations at 8 a.m.

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