A traditional hometown Memorial Day service will be conducted by the Pemberton-Jennings American Legion Post 220 on May 29 at 11 a.m. at Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery, East Highway 76. Tom Goldsworthy, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Branson Veterans Task Force, will be one of the guest speaker.
"Each Memorial Day the Branson Veterans Task Force is involved in ceremonies commemorating the true price of freedom. This year we are supporting the service conducted by Pemberton-Jennings American Legion," said Goldsworthy. "The service includes laying wreaths for the dead in each of our wars, a 21-gun salute and ‘Taps.’ Memorial Day is the day set aside to remember those who paid with their lives for the freedom we enjoy. In solemn ceremonies we remember and salute these true American heroes."
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. After World War I the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. It is now celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May. More than two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo, N.Y., was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966.
"History shows that many communities contributed to the growth of Memorial Day. The significance is not in who was first but in the honoring of those who gave their all," said Goldsworthy. "Since 2000, the Branson Veterans Task Force has supported the National Moment of Remembrance, a resolution which asks that at 3 p.m. local time for all Americans to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’ Please take this opportunity during this federal holiday to remember, reflect and honor those who have died for our country."
The Branson Veterans Task Force works to promote an environment of patriotic pride and dignity to recognize and honor our Nation's veterans and their families. This is just one of the many observances the non-profit group supports, the largest of which is Veterans Homecoming held during Veterans Week in November. For more information contact: Branson Veterans Task Force Inc., 138 Pointe Royale Drive Suite 0 (The Helms Building), Branson, MO 65615 or call 417-337-VETS.