Tonganoxie, area have weekend filled with Memorial Day activities
Memorial Day allows many to gather with friends and family for an extended weekend.
But Larry Meadows, a Tonganoxie VFW member, knows it has much more significance.
“Well, it’s a day we should stop and pay respect for the people who have passed who have protected our freedom and our way of life,” Meadows said about Memorial Day, which is Monday. “It’s a weekend for me because we display the flags Saturday, Sunday and Monday — Memorial Day — so it’s jut a day to show our respect.
“And take a minute and think back about what we owe the people who went before us. It’s a memorial day.”
Meadows, who is a former Tonganoxie VFW Post 9271 commander, said the VFW, with help from local Boy Scouts and their parents, display roughly 350 flags along Fourth Street in downtown Tonganoxie, at Hubbel Hill, Maple Grove and Sacred Heart cemeteries near Tonganoxie and the Reno Cemetery. He said the process normally takes 1 1/2 hours.
“If it weren’t for the Boy Scouts, it would take us longer,” Meadows said. “We really appreciate the Boy Scouts helping us.”
An annual Memorial Day weekend service takes place in Tonganoxie’s VFW Park.
This year, the service will be at 1 p.m. Sunday. VFW members in uniform conduct a rifle salute and “Taps” is played. A new flag will be raised at the park as well. Meadows said a new flag goes up the flag pole every Memorial Day. He said a new flag is displayed about every four months.
A local minister always speaks at the service, too. This year, Rev. Mike Bronson of West Haven Baptist Church will speak at the service.
Meadows noted that flags are flown at half-staff part of Memorial Day, marking the only time flags may fly at half-staff without official orders.
He said at daylight in the morning, a flag is lowered to the base of the pole and then to half-staff. At noon, the flag again is lowered to the base and then hoisted to full-staff.
Other Memorial Day weekend services in the area:
• U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band will present a free Brass in Blue concert. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Lansing High School Auditorium, 220 Lion Ln., in Lansing. Brass in Blue is a 13-member brass ensemble composed of ten brass players, two percussionists and a vocalist.
• Boy and Girl scouts will place flags on roughly 50,000 veterans graves at the Fort Leavenworth and Leavenworth national cemeteries.
• Memorial services in the McLouth area: 1 p.m. at Fowler Cemetery and 2:30 p.m. at Wildhorse Cemetery.
• Memorial service in the Jarbalo area: 2 p.m. at Fall Creek Cemetery.
• Edwardsville will have services at 2 p.m. at the Edwardsville Cemetery, 1501 S. 104th St., Edwardsville.
• Leavenworth National Cemetery annual service, 9 a.m. The ceremony is scheduled to last about one hour and ends with a 21-gun salute by the 500th Military Police from Fort Leavenworth and playing of “Taps.” Brass in Blue will perform patriotic music before and after the ceremony.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early because of construction around the cemetery.
Parking is available at the flag pole across from Building 19 on the main grounds of the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center, 4104 Fourth St. in Leavenworth, with shuttle transportation provided to the National Cemetery, 150 Muncie Rd. Limited handicapped parking is available.
• At 10 a.m. services will take place at the Bonner Springs Cemetery, Metropolitan Avenue and Sheidley Street.
• Memorial services will be 11 a.m. at McLouth Cemetery.
• The Basehor VFW will have its annual service at noon at Glenwood Cemetery, which is 0.4 of a mile south of U.S. Highway 24-40 on 158th Street, or County Road 2, near Basehor.
Meadows said Memorial Day services to him mean remembering veterans who have died fighting for the country’s freedoms. But it also is about remembering family and friends, such as his daughter, Lori, who died in 1999.
“A lot of people, when it comes to the holiday, they get it off and they want a vacation, which is all right,” Meadows said. “I think everything’s fine. A lot of people who just think of it as a holiday weekend and off work. They think of it as a holiday weekend.