It was a beautiful, sunny day for the annual Memorial Day Service at Park Hill Cemetery May 27. This marks the 150th Memorial Day celebration as the first was held in 1868.
Gerald Neeman was the Master of Ceremonies for the service that commemorated those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate price.  A middle school ensemble played a musical prelude and Taps.  The crowd sang the Star Spangled Banner together.
Each year the program includes a reading of General Logan’s Orders, Gettysburg Address, In Flanders Field, and America’s Answer read by Boys and Girls State Representatives.  The 2018 readers were Anna Bohlken and Pierce Agena.  Representatives from the American Legion Auxiliary, the V.F.W Auxiliary, and Boy Scout Troop #337 placed wreaths at the service.
Saturday, volunteers and Boy Scouts had spent hours placing flags at the graves of soldiers and the larger flags along the perimeter of the cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day.
Pastor Andy DeGolyer gave the Memorial Day Address.  His parents, all of his uncles, and many others in his family served in the navy.  DeGolyer went into the navy 45 days after his high school graduation in 1987 and served until 1991.
DeGolyer spoke about the history of Memorial Day and what it’s truly about.  
Originally started as Decoration Day where the graves of fallen soldiers were decorated to honor them, it was always held on May 30.  Later, in 1971, the holiday was declared Memorial Day and set for the last Monday in May.
In his address, DeGolyer said, “It is important that we do not forget the sacrifices of the men and women who have died defending this country so that you and I have the liberties that we have today.”
Though Veterans Day is set aside to recognize all for their service, Memorial Day has been set to honor the fallen.  
When sharing about fallen soldier Alejandro Villanueva, DeGolyer read part of an essay written by Villanueva before his passing.  “Most of us like to focus on what we have, not what we lost.  Most days that is okay and something to celebrate, but today is not the day to celebrate what you have.  We need to celebrate and remember those that are lost.”  More than 1.1 million service men and women have lost their lives in service to the United States.
In emphasizing the importance of Memorial Day, DeGolyer said, “As you leave today, let us remember that it’s not a celebration for us in life.  It’s remembrance of those that give us the ability to celebrate life.”