San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

May 21st, 2008
From American Legion Post 144: Memorial Day ceremony scheduled

SUBMITTED REPORT
by PAT MURDOCK

The public is invited to attend the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the San Marcos City Cemetery at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24, sponsored by San Marcos American Legion Post 144.

Prior to and after the ceremony, members of Boy Scout Troop 112 will place flags on the graves of veterans buried in the historic City Cemetery, as well as Memory Lawn.

Major Delbert “Del” David of San Marcos, who retired May 8, 2008, after more than 50 years of military service, will be the keynote speaker at the cemetery ceremony.

Post 144 Commander Tom Tvrdik will preside over the ceremony, which will include the raising of the flag by members of Boy Scout Troop 112; pinning on of poppies by members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 144; the symbolic placement of a wreath at the base of the flag by Unit 144 President Pat Murdock; a prayer; a welcome; and the Memorial Day address.

Those attending the ceremony are invited to bring lawn chairs, if the weather is nice. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held under the tabernacle in the cemetery.

Hot dogs will be served at the American Legion Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for Boy Scout Troop 112, their leaders and parents and any one interested in after-ceremony fellowship.

Major David entered the U.S. Air Force in 1954 at the age of 15. After basic and combat medical training, he was assigned to the inactive reserves for two and a half years. He returned to active duty in October of 1957 and served 22 years in the Air Force. After eight years in the retired reserves, he was appointed a captain in the Texas State Guard in April of 1990 and served with the State Guard until his retirement this month.

Along the way, Major David obtained a bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist College and received a number of medals from both the U.S. Air Force and the Texas State Guard.

Among the State Guard medals was a Texas Humanitarian Service award for work he did with Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims.

The observance of Memorial Day as a time to pay tribute to fallen war heroes began in 1868, when General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a declaration for an observance ceremony to take place on May 30, 1868. That year, more than 100 exercises were performed across the nation, multiplying quickly in the years that followed, climbing to 300 in 1869. New York became the first state to observe May 30 as a legal holiday in 1873. By 1890, it was a legal holiday in all of the northern states.

Before the observance was designated a national holiday, women in the southern states placed flowers not only on the graves of Confederate soldiers but on the graves of Union soldiers as well. This was due to the fact that most battles between the North and South had taken place on southern soil. This movement was viewed as one of reconciliation.

Legislation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 28, 1968, made Memorial Day an official national holiday that would provide Americans with a three-day weekend. The legislation states that Memorial Day will be observed on the last Monday of May. The observed holiday falls on Monday, May 26 this year.

For more information about the Memorial Day program, call (512) 353-8443 or (512) 353-1943.

— PAT MURDOCK

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