MEMORIAL DAY 2012:
Public Asked To Remember
The "Why" Of Memorial Day
A child's flag looms large in the foreground as the Honor Guard stands at the ready during last year's Memorial Day remembrance. Photo by Joe Ditler.
CORONADO - Memorial Day is a day that should never be misplaced or forgotten. On Monday, May 28, millions of Americans will stop, and take time to reflect on the men and women who paid the ultimate price while keeping our country safe.
Here in Coronado numerous civilians, veterans and active military will gather at Star Park Circle to pay homage to those men and women of the service. It’s an event the entire city is invited to attend. It’s an event everyone should be a part of, at all ages.
The Memorial Day tribute takes place on the grass of Star Park at 10 a.m., hosted by Coronado Post 2422-Veterans of Foreign Wars. Following the one-hour Star Park salute everyone is invited to attend a floral tribute and refreshments at the VFW Hall, located at 557 Orange Avenue.
Hundreds gather at Star Park Circle each year to participate in Memorial Day services. Photo by Joe Ditler.
This year’s ceremony will be called to order by VFW Post Commander Chuck Lucas followed by a Presentation of Colors led by cadet Greg Cotton of the National Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Kathleen Dugas will sing the National Anthem while the NJROTC retires the Colors. The invocation this year will be presented by LCDR Scott Adams, USN.
Coronado’s Mayor Casey Tanaka will read a proclamation designating the day’s importance, followed by a reading of the 23rd Psalm by Lt. Cmdr. Michael Turner, USN (Ret).
The guest speaker this year is Capt. Jack Ensch, USN (Ret). Capt. Ensch is a former POW with more than 3,000 flight hours and more than 800 carrier landings. For service to his country, Capt. Ensch received the Navy Cross, three Legion of Merit Awards, two Bronze Stars (with Combat “V”), and two Purple Hearts.
The annual Memorial Day gathering in Star Park draws children, the elderly, and members from
all branches of the Armed Services, both active and retired. Photo by Joe Ditler.
Part of the annual tradition of Memorial Day in Coronado involves a reading of "General Logan’s 11th General Order." This year, as in past years, the significant and moving document will be read by Sgt. Maj. John Clampitt, USMC (Ret) of Coronado.
This traditional speech by General Logan explains how Waterloo, New York is given official recognition as the birthplace of what was then called “Declaration Day,” as it builds into a dramatic telling of the “why” of Memorial Day.
That first service was held May 5, 1866, and over so many years, decades and centuries, the spirit of Memorial Day has not been forgotten, even if the details of it might have faded a little with time.
Memorial Day celebrations went national when, in 1868, Major General John A. Logan, Commander of a national organization of Union veterans called “The Grand Army of the Republic,” wrote and read his “General Order No. 11.”
That order officially designated the last Monday of May 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” (the Civil War).
Michael Turner, of the Coronado Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, places a wreath on
the ground at last year's Memorial Day services in honor of those who have served
their country over the years. Photo by Mike Coleman.
Logan’s letter continues to say, “We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, ‘of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors and Marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.’”
What comes next in Logan’s letter has become the foundation of pride that reverberates throughout our nation to this day. Logan asked in his letter, “What can aid more to assure this result than by 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. 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.”
This abbreviated text from Major General Logan’s letter has survived the gauntlet of time. But more so, the spirit of his letter continues to resonate across this country as we prepare to celebrate the memory of our fallen military May 28. Star Park will be just such a celebration.
For more information on the Coronado VFW Memorial Service, contact Michael Turner at (619) 865-4809 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The General Henry D. Styer Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 2422 is located at 557 Orange Avenue, in Coronado.
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