Memorial Day tradition spans 90+ years

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EUREKA (25News Now) - American Legion Post 466 has held a Memorial Day ceremony at the Olio Township Cemetery for over 90 years, but organizers said the focus this year was to involve more young people in their remembrance ceremony.

“That’s what this is all about,” said American Legion member and Master of Ceremonies Dan Harrod. “To make sure they know what it means on Memorial Day. It’s for the sacrifice that was given by our servicemen and servicewomen so that we enjoy these liberties that we just take for granted.”

Dan Harrod was a pilot for the Peoria Air Guard for 21 years and was active during the Vietnam War. He noted the young people all around today’s events.

Many of the hundreds who participated in the events were high school-aged or younger.

The Eureka High School Marching Band walked the parade and played “The Star-Spangled Banner” plus taps at the memorial ceremony.

Among those who participated, Boy Scout Troop 57 helped place 635 flags on the graves of those at the cemetery.

One student from Eureka High said he can’t imagine having to say goodbye.

“They watched their loved one disappear out of the line of sight, knowing that it may very well be the last time they will ever see them,” said the student. “This has been a stark reality for many in the country.”

A 21-gun salute concluded the ceremony. Harrod of the American Legion Post says it’s the most haunting part of each year’s ceremony.

American Legion Post staff told 25News that a moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will be coming to Eureka in July.