By Bill Schock and Jason SchockThe very welcome rain let up in plenty of time for the annual Memorial Day Services at the Rulo and Steele Cemeteries Monday and good-sized crowds turned out to pay tribute to this nation’s war dead.
Dr. Chick James, a retired Army colonel and Vietnam War veteran, gave very impressive talks at both services.
As he has for many years, Larry Whalen, Korean War veteran and commander of the Falls City Ceremonial Color Guard, arranged and presided over both services.
The programs at both the Jim Prater Memorial Service at Rulo and at the Steele Cemetery were similar.
Opening and closing prayers were by the Rev. Dan Gifford, pastor of Falls City Christ Lutheran Church and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, six miles north.
Mid Bauer sang two numbers, “Fallen But Not Forgotten,” and a heart-felt rendition of “God Bless the USA.” A musical tape by Terry Campbell was played at both services.
Color guards participating were the VFW Auxiliary Color Guard, Falls City Ceremonial Honor Guard and the Kansas-Nebraska Iowa Tribal Color Guard of White Cloud.
At the replica bier at the Steele Cemetery service were Boy Scouts of Troop 396. Their Scoutmaster is David Young. Under the direction of Raymond Vinsonhaler the Scouts previously had placed American flags at the marked graves of all veterans.
At the Falls City service a tribute was paid to Gold Star Mothers Patricia Holtz, Theone Kuhlmann, Anita Nolte and Naola Fritz.
Recognition also was given to commanders of local veterans’ organizations:
American Legion Post l02, Kenny Coonce; VFW Post l765, Larry Whalen; Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 455, Gerald Fritz; Disabled American Veterans Post Chapter 43, Allen Donigan; Sons of the American Legion, Bobby Walsh.
Placing American flags at the replica bier at Rulo were:
Revolutionary War, James Prater; Civil War, Pam Thompson; Spanish-American War, Tim Koelzer; World War I, Jane Zentner; World War II, Shelly Waggoner; Korean Conflict, Gary Prater; Vietnam War, Frances Simmonds; Disabled American Veterans, Kryen Prater; Desert Storm, Ron Prater; Salvation Army, Melissa Coonce.
Placing flags at the replica bier at Steele Cemetery were:
Revolutionary War, Barbara Sailors; Spanish-American War, June Bowers; Civil War, Sharon Sells; World War I, Julie Vollmer; World War II, Marilyn Capps; Korean Conflict, Donna Stumbo; Disabled American Veterans, Megan Vollmer; Desert Storm, Susan Witt; American Red Cross, Cassie Whalen.
“The Tribute to Our Departed Comrades” was given at both services by emcee Whalen. The rifle salute at both services was by the Falls City Ceremonial Guard Rifle Squad under the command of Larry Fischer.
Jim Davidson of the Ceremonial Honor Guard played “Taps” at both services.
Members of the VFW Auxiliary hosted a lunch at the Legion Club for those who had had participated in and attended the services.