By Michelle Kinsey
May 29, 2012
MUNCIE -- Twenty-one.
That's the number of veterans who have been buried at Beech Grove Cemetery since last Memorial Day.
On Monday, the names of those veterans were read by Delaware County Honor Guard Commander Bruce Clark during this year's Memorial Day observance.
"Lovell N. Baney, Donald D. Deardorff, John F. Dorton ..." He said each name slowly, the crowd of more than 50 -- some seeking shade under a red canopy, others braving the hot sun -- completely silent.
This was the cemetery's 140th Memorial Day observance, said Tom Schnuck, Beech Grove superintendent.
The ceremony opened with patriotic tunes from America's Hometown Band. As the band performed a medley of songs, each representing a different branch of the military, members of the audience who have served in that branch -- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines -- stood.
The members of the Delaware County Honor Guard stood watch over the ceremony, holding a large flag behind the veteran's memorial.
During the invocation, Colby Smith, of Hazelwood Christian Church, said that too often "we forget those that we should remember." Those, he said, "who served neighbor and friend above self."
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly said the "reason we have the freedom we have today ... is because of our veterans."
Mayor Dennis Tyler spoke of the first Memorial Day observance in 1865 in Charleston, S.C. It is the same then as it is today, he noted. "A day to transform the mourning of our loss into the celebration of freedom."
Dan Ivy, a retired lieutenant commander in the Indiana National Guard, read the poem The Old Man and Jim by James Whitcomb Riley. The poem, Ivy said, was about a proud father, who watched his son grow up and serve his country.
A red, white and blue wreath was placed by Pat Hale, auxiliary president at American Legion Post 19, in front of the veterans memorial.
The ceremony closed with Taps, performed perfectly in a haunting round, by two America's Hometown Band members.
Zachary Stamps, 12, was among those who attended the ceremony. Stamps, dressed in an oversized camouflage uniform and combat boots, is a member of the local Youth Marine group.
"I came here to honor the people who have passed away serving our country," he said, adjusting his cap to shield his eyes from the sun. "It's an important thing to do."