Every year Holley-Riddle Post 21 holds a Memorial Day ceremony. This year, Commander Mary Garcia felt the need to expand the program for the largest possible outreach to the community.
Partnering with Grandscape, the entertainment and restaurant development in The Colony, Texas, Commander Garcia coordinated a Memorial Day event that served several roles – honoring the fallen, teaching our children and engaging the community.
Post 21 sponsored the mobile museum “Awakening the Mind, World War One Remembered" for four days on the lawn, the community meeting place at Grandscape between all the businesses and restaurants. On Memorial Day alone, Keith Colley, museum curator, estimated 1,000 visitors came to the museum to see the 100-year-old artifacts and learn about WWI.
The Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in The Colony created and distributed 300 handmade poppies, as a remembrance of lives lost in battle throughout history.
The highlight of the weekend was the Honor and Remembrance ceremony at 1100 on Memorial Day on the Grandscape main stage. The Colony Police Department honor guard presented the colors while Arden Ogilvie sang the national anthem.
Post 21’s honor guard flawlessly folded a funeral flag from WWI and presented it to the grandson of WWI veteran PFC Jacob “Pappy” Stevens. During the folding, Vice Commander Richard Ensweiler explained the meaning of the 13 folds. “The spectators were very appreciative of our ceremony,” said Commander Garcia. “Many of them admitted they never knew the meaning of the flag folds.”
A WWI doughboy re-enactor in authentic wool uniform laid a memorial wreath and stood guard over it during the ceremony.
Guest speaker Robert Spooner, USMC, Lt. Col. (ret.) gave a heartfelt message about the meaning of Memorial Day. Mayor Richard Boyer presented Commander Garcia a proclamation from the city.
The ceremony concluded with a sounding of tap, and a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace" played by bagpiper Preston White from The Colony Police Department.
After 10 hours onsite, Commander Garcia wrapped up the weekend by saying, “This vision of a Memorial Day that touches our community could only be realized through the culmination of hours upon hours of practicing, planning and coordinating. Post 21 and SAL Squadron 21 were on a mission, and by the accolades from the audience, I can say 'Mission Accomplished.'”