Canton American Legion Post #holds annual Memorial Day program
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:59 AM
Once again a large group gathered at the Canton Town Hall to observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 26.
Post chaplain Greg Turner lays a wreath on the memorial dedicated to the veterans and servicemen from the Canton area. BARB KERNS/NEWS-RECORD
The message given echoed in the words of Commander Doug Marine, Post Chaplain Greg Turner and guest speaker, Legionnaire Rick Bjertness. That message was one of thanks to all who have served, from the War of 1812 to the present.
The Mabel-Canton Band performed the "Star Spangled Banner" and "Medal of Honor," a musical selection written to honor Jack Lucas, the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Band director Katie Larson stated that the medal was presented to the soldier in October of 1945, after he had been injured by throwing himself on top of his comrades on Feb. 20, 1945, resulting in over 250 pieces of shrapnel being imbedded in his body.
Bjertness told those present to be proud of their village and surrounding area for the number of citizens who have served over the years.
He spoke of the similarities in area Memorial Day ceremonies; all have a flag ceremony.
Bjertness reminded the listeners of the meaning of the American flag; the stars on blue are representative of the states under the sky. The white stripes signify purity and the red stripes serve as a reminder of the blood that was shed in defense of the flag and all it stands for.
Also common is the placing of the wreath and the three-shot volley, as well as the playing of "Taps."
He also gave a brief history of the origin of "Taps," playing that as an alternative to the volley during times of war.
Bjertness continued his speech with remembrances of his own and those shared with him about soldiers over the years.
One story involved the G Company of Marines, also known as the Bloody Georges, who served in the Korean War. Following a battle where most of the company lost their lives, one survivor told a news correspondent that his greatest wish, if he had his choice, was "tomorrow."
Bjertness pointed out that time cannot be saved - that it must be used.
In conclusion, Bjertness stated, "Only two have died for you - Jesus for your soul and the American serviceman for your freedom."