Fallen honored in Albion

ALBION – Dozens gathered in Albion Cemetery to remember fallen service members over several generations during the city’s annual Memorial Day service Sunday afternoon.

“I remember coming out here every year as a kid,” said service coordinator Susan Rothman. “My siblings and I have a lot of memories of this service.”

She added that many people who grew up in or around Albion know that the Memorial Day service is a city mainstay.

“My grandfather used to talk about marching from the band stand,” said Mary Dooley, another service planner. “All of us remember coming here as kids.”

The service began with Boy Scouts from Troop 47 of Independence and Troop 69 of Waverly acting as the honor guard.

Spenser Rothman, one of the boy scouts, recited the Gettysburg Address, a speech given by President Abraham Lincoln in November of 1863 during the height of the Civil War.

Another work recited was the World War I poem “In Flanders Field” by Canadian doctor Lt. Col. John McCrae about death during European trench warfare.

Wade Dooley, the master of ceremonies, recited a speech given by President Obama honoring Vietnam War vets.

“I remember when it was called Decoration Day,” said Pastor Cheryl Ridenour, who gave a sermon at the ceremony. “Names are incredibly important on Memorial Day.”

She read scripture from the Book of Isaiah and talked of the importance of naming and remembering fallen service members.

One member of the audience, Gene McRill, led the Memorial Day ceremony annual for several decades before passing the torch.

“I was involved with this ceremony for probably 40 or 50 years,” he said. “I remember marching out here with the band, that happened every year for a long time.”

He added that the service has changed little since he was growing up in the 1940s.

During her sermon, Ridenour said she appreciated the different generations present.

“I am so glad to see that we have young people here,” she said. “Someday soon, they will pass this tradition on to the next generation.”

Dooley said Memorial Day is an important holiday for those in the Albion community.

“This day is about honoring our fallen,” Dooley said. “It’s an important tradition for us.”

Many more Memorial Day ceremonies are slated today throughout Central Iowa.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com