Veterans remember those who paid the ultimate price



A Medora woman has made her way to Fairview Cemetery to attend the annual Memorial Day service for more than 50 years and has no plans to stop doing so anytime soon.

“To me, it’s an act of faithfulness and memory of our loved ones,” Charlotte Sherrill said shortly after Sunday afternoon’s service ended.

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Her husband, Russell Arthur Sherrill, who was a veteran of World War II, died Nov. 30, 2010, and is buried at Fairview Cemetery along with a lot of other family members.

“He fought overseas with the 735th Tank Battalion, and he also was a prisoner of war,” she said. “So it means a lot to me.”

She said the service is an important way for people to do something for those who have paid the ultimate price for their country, including veterans and others.

Sherrill said she was a little concerned about the poor attendance at the service. Less than two dozen people attended.

The Rev. Mike Hogg, who was the guest speaker, talked about the history of Memorial Day, which became a federal holiday in 1971 but traces its beginnings to 1868 after the Civil War ended. About 620,000 Americans lost their lives in that war.

“To honor the fallen soldiers on both sides, Decoration Day, was established,” Hogg said. “The name was a reference to those who decorated the graves of soldiers.”

Hogg said Memorial Day holds the greatest meaning to those whose family served or were directly impacted by the ultimate sacrifice.

He quoted several other people and their thoughts about Memorial Day, including President Benjamin Harrison.

“I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning,” Harrison said. “I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.”

Hogg said those who died fought and won for us a peace that was denied them, but one that we have rested in and that we have long enjoyed.

“Their names are engraved in stone, but for many of us, their names remain engraved upon our hearts and our conscience,” he said. “They were in every respect ordinary men and women who through the trials of war and conflict proved themselves extraordinary, each one our betters.”

The Memorial Day service is organized by local veterans, including Max Middendorf of Brownstown, who served as master of ceremonies, and Glen Killey, also of Brownstown, who conducted the flag raising ceremony. Members of a firing squad from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 and American Legion Post 89, both of Seymour, fired a 21-gun salute, and firing squad member Tom Cooley finished the ceremony with “Taps.”

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