Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the last Monday of May, commemorating men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Initially proclaimed by General John Logan in 1868 as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day was a holiday in memory of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. The solemn day of remembrance was supposed to be a step towards national reconciliation. The original name comes from placing flowers on the graves of the soldiers. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an Act of Congress; it is now officially celebrated on the last Monday in May.
In DeKalb, there will be a special Ceremony at 8:15 a.m. at First & Lincoln Highway by the Memorial Clock to kick off the Memorial Day pre-Parade and program tributes. This event is to announce the new “DeKalb Hometown Hero” banner program. Speakers will be DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas, and American Legion Chaplain Rob McCann.
Following the presentation, a brief comment will be made regarding the new “DeKalb Hometown Hero” program created by the DeKalb American Legion and the City of DeKalb to honor both veterans and current serving military members. The first veteran banner will be of DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, Sergeant in the US Army (49 year ago). Banners will be placed on Locust Street in DeKalb by Memorial Day and will stay up until Veteran’s Day (November 11). American Flag banners will be placed on Lincoln Highway (Route 38) as well from Memorial Day to the 4th of July.
The first of 30 Banners will feature these DeKalb area Veterans and current active Military:
US Army: Cpl. Daryle Finnestad, Sp/5 Robert Quitno, Sp/5 Robert A. Quitno, Major Benjamin Bakken, Sgt. Patrick Garcia, M/Sgt. Dan Lucius, E-9 Robert Coutler, Pvt. Bobby Smith, E-7 Jerry Busby, E-4 Donald Anderson, E-5 Jerry Smith (Mayor of DeKalb), Pvt. Frank Ramirez
US Marines: Col. Barry Federici, Sgt. Thomas Doherty (Judge), Cpl. Burton Johnston, Cpl. Joseph Newby, E-4 Austin Sanderson, E-6 Leon Keutzer, Sgt. James Arends, Sgt. Clifford “Cliff” Seldal, E-4 Carolyn Morris (DeKalb City Council)
US Air Force: S/Sgt. Jordan Quitno, Col. George Watkins, Sgt. Doug Massier, S/Sgt. Michael Embrey (Band)
US Navy: S2C. Laverne Male, E-4 Matthew Quitno, E-5 Anthony “Tony” Faivre (DeKalb City Council), GM3 William Chamness, E-3 Harold Overton, E-5 Jeff Jossendal (DeKalb Fire Dept.)
At 8:30 a.m., there will be a brief military ceremony at the Memorial Clock to Honor Memorial Day with 3 volleys and playing of Taps presented by the DeKalb American Legion Post 66.
The Parade will step off at 9:00 a.m. at 3rd and Lincoln hosted by the DeKalb Chamber. Following the parade will be a special ceremony at the Ellwood Mansion and will feature American Legion Chaplain Rob McCann.
NOTE: There is a Mayor’s breakfast at the Elk’s Lodge in DeKalb at 7:00 a.m. to kick off the day.
Michael Embrey, USAF Veteran (Band/Drum Corps)