Coliseum site of grand Memorial Day service

Morning showers canceled outdoor Memorial Day ceremonies at Marshalltown’s Riverside and Rose Hill cemeteries, but the spirit of the day was carried on with vigor in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the event rain location.

“I believe this is only the second time in 18 years we have had to move the event indoors because of rain,” said master of ceremonies Steve Storjohann.

Flanked by the Marshalltown Municipal Band on one side and the American Legion/VFW honor guard on the other, a large crowd was treated to rousing patriotic music and an inspirational message by guest speaker First Sgt. Todd Eipperle of Marshalltown.

Eipperle is a highly-decorated member of the U.S. Army who, in his stellar career, also served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While in Afghanistan, Eipperle earned a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart.

Eipperle urged the attentive audience to “never forget” the ultimate sacrifice service men and women made to protect freedom and extinguish tyranny.

He gave stirring examples of heroism from Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq, World War I, the Korean War and World War II.

“May we always cherish their memories,” Eipperle said.

Eipperle also implored the audience to remember the service men and women who returned home after various conflicts, impacted mentally and physically.

“Men and women who served their country in time of need have returned wounded, some disfigured, with scars and illnesses from the stress of combat,” he said. “We live in an uncertain world, and we must always remember and give our thanks to the men and women volunteers who serve to protect us.”

Two audience members were Marnie Stone and daughter Olivia Stone, 12, both of Marshalltown.

“We always come,” Marnie Stone said. “And I was pleased with the good turnout despite the change in location.”

“The program was very nice,” Olivia Stone said.

Their comments were echoed by Jane Markey of Marshalltown.

Markey, like the Stones, has attended one of the two outdoor cemetery services

She had a special reason to attend.

“I buried two military husbands,” she said.

“Last August (I buried) John Markey in Riverside Cemetery,” she said. “My first husband, David Miller, was buried in Timber Creek Cemetery.

My first husband was a Private First Class. My second husband was in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was a retired military man.”

The program was arranged the All Veterans Committee, Storjohann, Deloris Clayton, Pete Menzel and Doris Lemker.