Memorial Day memories filled with pride, love

By: 

Lorna Marquardt, Leader Columnist

Mayors receive numerous invitations to attend and speak at a variety of events. During my 14-year tenure, the event that meant the most to me was the annual Memorial Day program held at Woodlawn Cemetery (weather permitting).

Participating in the Memorial Day parade was emotional and unlike any other parade. My heart swelled with pride as I rode behind the veterans who walked the parade route. Many of them are seniors, but that never seems to stop them from putting on their uniform and making the trek, their shoulders back and head held high.

It was always heartwarming observing the number of people along the parade route showing their support for our Veterans. It is a parade like none other, no laughter, no showy floats, no animals and no frivolity. It is respectful and very surreal. No candy is given out during this patriotic parade.

There are always many children in attendance with their parents. They don’t come for the candy, they are there to wave and show their admiration for our community heroes. I appreciate this lesson of respect parents share with their children.

It is always nice having the Scouts in the parade too.

Arriving at the cemetery gates is emotional. The flags lining the street into the cemetery and the flags displayed at every veteran’s grave is quite an awesome sight and one that evokes a feeling of pride and patriotism. The cemetery is always beautifully groomed, and gravesites are adorned with flowers, crosses and other sentimental displays.

Knowing I was there to represent the community, it was important my words were representative of the love and support our residents feel for our veterans. I cannot tell you how many times I wrote and rewrote my presentations. The words never seemed adequate; how does one truly express such deep gratitude?

Once a somewhat satisfactory draft was completed, I asked city hall staff to listen and critique my words. My hubby must have known my speech by heart by the time Memorial Day arrived.

Each year I wanted to give the presentation without my voice breaking or without tears. Let me tell you, that was no easy assignment. As I stood there looking out at our veterans, their families and the white tombstones, my heart filled with such pride and gratitude, it made it difficult to speak. However, knowing I was there as the voice of our city and by the grace of God, I always made it through each year without breaking down. It was truly the most humbling and special event I attended and participated in every year.

I’m certain Mayor Cronce and all other presenters share that sense of pride and love for our veterans. I look forward to listening to their inspiring words.

Dear Heavenly Father,

With a sober heart, we come before you this Memorial Day. We pause for a moment and call to mind all the men and women who have died in the service of our nation since 1776.

Dear God, please look with mercy on our brave and selfless brothers and sisters who did not shirk from their task, but gave themselves completely to the cause of defending and protecting us all.

Bless all who have given their lives for the sake of liberty, and grant them eternal rest with you.

We remember also our brave men and women now serving in our armed forces, both at home and abroad.

Dear God, send out your angels to protect them all. Help them discharge their duties honorably and efficiently. Please bring them home safely when their duty has been served.

Please bring Your peace and mercy to our troubled world.

In Jesus’ name, we ask this. Amen

Answer to last week’s question: Mr. and Mrs. R. Zoglman and Mr. and Mrs Alvin Koeller established the Pine Acre Motel in 1955.

This week’s question: Who were the founders of the R&R Bowling Lanes and what year was it established?

Lorna Marquardt is a former mayor of Shawano.