Our Memorial Day ceremony

Custer, MT

Every year for Memorial Day, our small post (usually 55 to 60 members) goes to the local cemetery the Saturday before Memorial Day. and we place a white cross on the left of the veteran's headstone and a "stick flag" on the right. This cemetery has approximately 200 grave sites in it, and of those the number of veteran graves has grown to 88 sites this year. We have veterans buried here starting with one from "the Indian Wars" and up through the current era. Most of them are from a wartime era, but not all. Then on Memorial Day beginning at 1100 hours, the post members participate in a ceremony which includes two flag bearers, the U.S. flag and the post flag plus the two riflemen as honor guard. The emcee opens with inviting all veterans in standing audience to come to the front by speaker, then opening prayer, introduction of special speaker who has a 10 to 15-minute talk on Memorial Day, followed by placing a wreath at the base of the cemetery flag pole and a second one in the canal right behind the speaker. These are symbolic of missing in action and missing at sea. With the dropping of the wreath in the canal, Taps is sounded and the group is dismissed. At dismissal all those in attendance are invited to a potluck lunch at a local school just a quarter-mile up the road in the local town. This is hosted by local American Legion Auxiliary.
This program has been put on by our post every year since 1950 without missing one, even in event of rain. Those attending average from 85 to 125 friends and relatives of those resting in the cemetery.

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