We were so happy and blessed to be able to attend the third annual Memorial Day event at the Civil War cemetery in Vernon, Illinois. We remember fondly the event from 2015, written about here in case you missed it. We didn’t think that day could be topped but this years event was equally wonderful. This post will be mainly photos of the wonderful displays.
The weather was absolutely perfect! The theme this year changed the previous event a bit in that we didn’t see people dressed to match the theme. This year, the focus was on World War II, a war near and dear to my heart since my dad served as a bombardier and both of my in-laws also served. My father in law was in the infantry and my mother in law served as a 1st Lieutenant Army Nurse.
Program of Events – Beginning at 12:00 PM
Welcome – Dr. Mark Murfin
National Anthem – Whitney Murray
Flag Raising – American Legion Honor Guard and 1st Illinois Light Artillery
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Unrivaled Leadership” – Mike Mullen
“What Time Cannot Erase” – Pastor Calvin Jean, Salem Apostolic Church
Meal and music of World War II
Live Civil War Cannon Firing
World War II Poster Art – Three poster presentations: “The Flag Raising at Iwo Jima” by David Lees; “The Sullivan Brothers, USSS Juneau and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal” by Dr. Mark Murfin (sadly, time ran out so not presented); and, “The Internment of Japanese Americans during WWII” FDR’s Executive Order 9066 by Dr. Mark Murfin
What an eye-opening and excellent history of the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our 32nd President. He was elected in 1933. TBH, we’ve always thought he was just a “big” government program President. What we learned (or had put into better perspective) was that he inherited a country in the midst of a tragic depression. There were not only no jobs, there was no hope for the United States of America. Since I didn’t take notes, let me cheat and copy a few details to remind us of his legacy, from History.com:
With the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt immediately acted to restore public confidence, proclaiming a bank holiday and speaking directly to the public in a series of radio broadcasts or “fireside chats.” His ambitious slate of New Deal programs and reforms redefined the role of the federal government in the lives of Americans. Reelected by comfortable margins in 1936, 1940 and 1944, FDR led the United States from isolationism to victory over Nazi Germany and its allies in World War II. He spearheaded the successful wartime alliance between Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States and helped lay the groundwork for the post-war peace organization that would become the United Nations. The only American president in history to be elected four times, Roosevelt died in office in April 1945.
It was amazing how he strategically brought America from the brink of despair serving as a world leader. Granted, we think he may have went a bit overboard with the government programs. But the important thing that was pointed out, he was truly a victim of WWII as well as he died in office. You could see the stress from the job was wearing on him.
The next speaker, Pastor Calvin Jean, Salem Apostolic Church, gave an inspiring talk, putting such events like this into perspective. His keynote scripture was “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” II Thessalonians 3:16
He ended with a prayer over the day and for our meal. While we ate, we were entertained by music from the WW II era and featuring Dame Vera Lynn. She is a British singer known wide and far as “The Force’s Sweetheart.” We also could wander around and observe the amazing poster art on display to give a great picture-o-graphs of what it took to wage and WIN World War II:
After our meal, we were treated to firing of the cannons to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Firing presentation by the 1st Illinois Light Artillery:
After the cannon firing, there were two poster talks, one by my brother-in-law, David Lees, and one by Dr. Murfin. David’s topic was about the famous photograph of raising the flag at Iwo Jima. It seems that some current research has shown there was a case of mistaken identity among the men who raised the flag. It was also interesting to learn the President wanted to reunite the men who raised the Flag, to have them help in raising bond funds. Sadly, it couldn’t be done because two of the original men were killed in action. Instead, they arranged for two other men to take their place….To read more about the case of the mistaken identity, you can read an article by clicking here:
Then Dr. Murfin gave a fascinating talk about one incident that may have contributed to the internment of the Japanese Americans in the United States on or around January 2, 1945. I didn’t take notes of his talk, but here are some of the facts surrounding this tragic decision.
Ten weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of any or all people from military areas “as deemed necessary or desirable.” The military in turn defined the entire West Coast, home to the majority of Americans of Japanese ancestry or citizenship, as a military area. By June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were relocated to remote internment camps built by the U.S. military in scattered locations around the country. For the next two and a half years, many of these Japanese Americans endured extremely difficult living conditions and poor treatment by their military guards.
On December 17, 1944, U.S. Major General Henry C. Pratt issued Public Proclamation No. 21, declaring that, effective January 2, 1945, Japanese-American “evacuees” from the West Coast could return to their homes. During the course of World War II, 10 Americans were convicted of spying for Japan, but not one of them was of Japanese ancestry. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to recompense each surviving internee with a tax-free check for $20,000 and an apology from the U.S. government.
Click here to see all the photos I took of that day.
This years event and the one we attended two years ago were about as good as it gets when it comes to honor those Americans who fought to the death for our freedoms. I’ll close this with the “Four Freedoms” as articulated by President Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address January 6, 1941, which are noble and should remain our goals today:
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941