By Jessie Hellmann
Tribune staff writer
Hundreds of miniature flags flapped in the wind and the sound of trumpets filled the air bellowing out songs like “America the Beautiful,” as veterans and their families surrounded the Soldiers and Sailors monument at Crown Point Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day.
“It’s for our departed comrades, men and women. We never want to forget them,” said Jerry Mitchell, commander of Post 6 of the American Legion. “They gave their lives to make America free and a lot of other countries free.”
Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution and other organizations took turns placing wreaths of flowers, red, white, blue and sometimes yellow, around the monument.
“Whenever we’ve been called to duty, they’ve stepped up and volunteered,” Mitchell said. “We just want to remember them.”
Later in the afternoon, across town, about 50 people, many who attended the earlier ceremony, gathered to pay tribute at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial at Darrough Chapel Park.
Bystanders lined up on either side of the walk of freedom, which is composed of bricks, each with the name of a deceased veteran and his or her service dates etched into it. Members of various groups, including the American Legion and the VFW, individually carried wreaths down the walkway to lay at the memorial at the walkway’s end.
Mayor Greg Goodnight attended the memorial and reminded attendees of the many soldiers who remain unaccounted for.
“Let’s not forget the four dozen Hoosiers who are still classified as prisoners of war or are missing in action,” Goodnight said.
At the ceremony, Men of Note, a local barbershop quartet, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful,” and Chaplain Dennis Chapman, with the Howard County Vietnam Veterans, led the group in prayer and said a few words.
“We are here to honor those who have given their lives for their country, for those who have sacrificed for their country,” Chapman said. “We are here to honor (veterans) and lift them up, and also to remember our servicemen and women who are still standing and trying to do what they can.”
A list of those from the area who were recently lost was read out loud.
“We meet here for a few minutes at what costs men’s lives for years: the agony of war, the agony of death, of destruction, maimed bodies, a lot of things,” Chapman said. “We hate the war, but we love the warriors and we want to lift them up, and we want to praise them and thank them for all their sacrifices and for everything they have done for our country.”