Memorial Day may have been celebrated by a large portion of Americans on Monday, May 27, but for the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, including Pahrump’s own Post #10054, the true observance did not take place until three days later on May 30.
This was the date originally selected for the solemn occasion and though an act of Congress eventually transformed it into a holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May, the VFW has, as a national organization, made the decision to continue observing Memorial Day on the date that was first chosen for the commemoration.
Gathering at the post on Thursday morning were several dozen valley residents and former military members, all with the desire to show their appreciation and recognition for the men and women who bravely fought and perished in their service to America.
The VFW’s Memorial Day service opened with the reading of General Order #11, a call from General John A. Logan to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War. On May 5, 1868 Logan issued the order that recognized May 30 as a day designated for the remembrance of the fallen and this gave birth to Decoration Day, what we know now as Memorial Day. The observance has also been expanded to include all military service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation.
Post Quartermaster Marty Aguiar, who was recently elected as the new post commander for 2019-2020, recited the order.
“‘The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land’,” Aguiar read.
Although the order does not dictate any specific directive as to the form that ceremonies should take, it calls on all posts and comrades to ensure fitting services are held to honor the fallen and to strengthen the feeling of camaraderie that binds together all of the U.S. armed forces.
“‘What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms’,” Aguiar continued to recite. “‘We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders…’”
2018-2019 Post Commander Ed Morrissey also addressed the crowd, telling the audience, “As long as two comrades survive, so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead. As we observe Memorial Day, we do more than just carry on a tradition… We also fulfill a commitment… Today we honor our fallen but we also embrace a feeling of honor, patriotism and pride.”
The crowd then rose to its feet while Remington Nicosia sang the national anthem, her voice ringing clearly in the morning air. A prayer from the post Chaplain Kenny James and word from VFW Auxiliary President Bonnie Darrell followed, with the performance of “Taps” bringing the ceremony to a close.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more coverage on the Memorial Day events held in Pahrump see www.pvtimes.com