U.S. flags lining the drive into Highland Cemetery were never more spectacular. A stiff south wind kept them unfurled throughout Memorial Day services Monday morning.
The Iola Municipal Band played, wreaths were laid, a firing squad saluted the dead with rifle volleys and Lt. Col. David Lee spoke of patriotism and encouraged those attending to steel themselves “for what lies ahead.”
“For nearly 10 years we’ve been engaged in a long-term struggle against violent terrorism,” Lee said. “But our job isn’t done. Though we have been resilient in meeting the challenges of war, we must prepare for the challenges ahead.”
“In this world, terror will not rest. Violence will not sleep. Evil will not die,” he said. “If we honor and remember those who have served, compassion will prevail, justice will triumph, and freedom will reign.
“Remember today’s military men and women, support their families, never forget the missing and rejoice in their lives.”
Lee reminded about 250 attendees that Memorial Day was “not to be a day of solemn mourning, but a day of reverent celebration. Since 1866 when the people of Waterloo, N.Y., dipped their flags to half mast and decorated their village to remember the soldiers of the Civil War, our nation has paid tribute to … all service men and women who have fallen in the line of duty.
“These were ordinary men and women who rose to meet seemingly impossible odds and did extraordinary things.”
MEMORIAL services also were in Iola Cemetery, at the west edge of town, prior to those at Highland Cemetery, and at other cemeteries throughout Allen County.