Remembering the fallen: Dixon observes Memorial Day with parade, ceremony
|The flag raising ceremony takes place in Oakwood Cemetery on Memorial Day morning in Dixon. (Chris Padgett - SVN)|
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DIXON – As the wind whipped through the dozens of flags in Dixon’s Oakwood Cemetery, the crowd stood silently as a rifle squad fired three quick shots into the air. The soft sounds of taps followed after the last crack of the rifles faded away.
Victor Garland, a specialist with the National Guard’s Dixon-based Bravo Troop, 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry, read “General Logan’s Orders” during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony. Issued in 1868, the orders called for the decoration of graves to honor those who were killed during the Civil War.
Garland, 26, of Amboy, was deployed to Afghanistan in September, but is home on a short leave. He said he was honored to participate in this year’s ceremony.
“Memorial Day is very important to me because I am now a combat veteran,” he said. “The day means a lot more to me.”
This year’s ceremony was hosted by the Dixon Area Detachment of the Marine Corps League with participation from a number of service groups, such as Dixon VFW Post 570, Dixon American Legion Post 12, local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and the Rock River Valley Chapter of VietNow.
People lined the sidewalks on Peoria Avenue as a parade of veterans and organizations marched to the cemetery.
Members of Dixon American Legion Post 12 opened the city’s Memorial Day services with a wreath-laying ceremony on the Peoria Avenue bridge to honor sailors and merchant marines who died at sea.
Post Commander Mike Barney, 61, retired from the U.S. Navy 16 years ago, after spending more than two decades working on the high seas.
For Barney, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died in combat, as well as active serviceman and veterans.
“There are so many people who lost their loved ones in war,” Barney said. “Our World War II vets are rapidly passing away. It’s important to honor our veterans at least once a year, if not all year long.”
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