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Coordinated by Madison American Legion, a Memorial Day ceremony will be held at Madison Veterans Park on Front Street on May 31 at 11 a.m. CONTRIBUTED

American Legion’s Memorial Day Ceremony set for May 31

MADISON – Madison American Legion, Post 229 will conduct their annual Memorial Day Ceremony to honor individuals who died in military service.

On May 31, the event will open at 11 a.m. in Madison Veterans Park downtown at the intersection of Front and Church streets.

“Memorial Day weekend is an important time of reflection for all Americans to pause and honor and remember those that have given their lives in the service of our great nation,” Post 229 Auxiliary President Jean Downs said.

“Each year, Madison American Legion holds a ceremony to show our respect for our nation’s heroes. The public is encouraged to attend,” Downs said. “In 2020, we had a ceremony primarily (for) post and auxiliary members only due to COVID-19.”

“Many celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend with barbecues and family get-togethers, but Memorial Day is so much more than a chance to kick off the summer months,” Downs said. Memorial Day is a day intended to solemnly honor all men and women who have died in U.S. military service.

Post 229 Commander Col. Larry Vannoy encourages every resident of Madison to schedule time in their weekend plans and attend the ceremony. “It’s important for our children to learn the true meaning of Memorial Day and why we celebrate it. It’s more than a three-day weekend to kick off summer … it’s a time for honor and remembrance,” he said.

At the ceremony, Lt. Col. Stacey Harring, American Legion Adjutant, will offer opening remarks. The Air Force JROTC Color Guard from Bob Jones High School will present Posting of the Colors.

An AFJROTC Cadet from Bob Jones will sing “The National Anthem.” Legionnaire Andy Haq will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The guest speaker from the military will be Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood.

The program will continue with remarks from Madison Mayor Paul Finley. Steve Haraway, District 2 Madison County Commissioner, will speak, along with Alabama State Representatives Mike Ball and Mac McCutchen.

With an escort of Legionnaires, Haq then will post the wreath in memory of fallen men and women. American Legion Honor Guard will present “Taps” played on bugle and a rousing 21-gun salute.

Local musicians will perform selections for reflection and patriotic pride. In closing remarks, Vannoy will address the audience.

“Memorial Day began in 1868, a few years after the Civil War ended. An organization of Union veterans established the holiday, then known as Decoration Day, as a time to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers,” Vannoy said.

“The American Legion continues this tradition by placing flags at the graves of our veterans at City of Madison cemeteries each Memorial Day,” Vannoy said.

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