Solemn Memorial Day observed

Solemn Memorial Day observed

Ray Scherer

The heroic sacrifices of American war dead were commemorated in a special observance Monday morning, Memorial Day, at Hermann City Cemetery.

Members of VFW Post 4182 -- along with auxiliary members, scouts, community leaders, and residents -- participated in the program. Post Commander Dennis Bruno told the audience the activity was a true reminder of the need to always pay tribute and never forget the heroic deeds performed by those in military service.

Bruno said Memorial Day is the proper consecrated day to remember the sincere services rendered by fallen comrades who were involved in all U.S. wars from all branches of the service. He called the cemetery hallowed ground, purposefully intended for "solemn commemoration" and expressions of love for devotion to duty. Those dead, he reminded the crowd, died to keep the nation free.

Following a divine blessing by the post, Hermann Mayor Bruce Cox spoke on the history of the revered holiday and offered his own impressions.

"Most of our younger generation doesn't realize" what Memorial Day means, the mayor stated. He said the ability to enjoy such familiar outings as barbecues is attributable to the military's sacrifices.

Cox told the gathering he is a U.S. Navy veteran who served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, and mentioned his family's military service as well. He also referenced the service of hometown hero Marine Lance Cpl. Erik R. Heldt, 26, of Hermann, who died June 16, 2005, during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Heldt was killed while conducting combat operations near Ramadi, Iraq, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Marine Capt. John W. Maloney.

He said Hermann's veterans' memorial near the 1906 firehouse gives him pride.

"There's a lot of names" there representing such a small community, said Cox, adding he hopes America does not have any more armed conflicts.

The post and auxiliary paid tributes to their fallen comrades and all members of military service through symbols of remembrance and an emblem of eternity. Bruno recited the following names of those post members who had died since June 2020: Jack M. Greene, Truman Eikermann, Gottlieb Wilmsmeyer, Thomas Dunn, Pee Wee Bosman, Miles McLain, Jerry Polston, Fred Baernz, and Tom Dildine.

LaNette Kotthoff sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Betty Crawford sang "The Soldier's Wife's Lament". A 21-gun salute was fired and "Taps" was performed on the bugle to conclude the ceremony.