Scouts to adorn veterans graves in Memorial Day ceremonies May 25
From Staff Reports
The public is invited to attend the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the San Marcos City Cemetery at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25, sponsored by San Marcos American Legion Post 144.
Prior to and after the ceremony, members of Boy Scout Troop 112 will place flags on the graves of veterans buried in eight local area cemeteries. Presiding over the program will be Post 144 Commander Tom Tvrdik.
Cemeteries to receive flags include the San Marcos City Cemetery, Memory Lawn (including Garden of the Cross), Guadalupe, Reedville, San Pedro, San Marcos-Blanco Cemetery, Cementero del Rio and the San Juan Cemetery.
Boy Scout Troop 112 will raise the flag at the cemetery. Program participants will receive poppies from members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 144.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be San Marcos City Councilman Wayne Becak. A member of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University, Becak was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U. S. Army upon his graduation. fter completion of officer basic training at Fort Eustis, Va., and an assignment to the U. S. Army Reserves, he joined the Texas Army National Guard where he served more than 12 years in the 49th Armored Division.
Local veteran Alan Cameron, a singer-songwriter, will sing the national anthem. A wreath will be placed at the base of the flag by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 144 President Lois Stuart.
Those attending the ceremony are invited to bring lawn chairs, if the weather is nice. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the chapel in the cemetery.
Hot dogs will be served at the American Legion Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for Boy Scout Troop 112, their leaders and parents and anyone interested in after-ceremony fellowship.
The observance of Memorial Day as a time to pay tribute to fallen war heroes began in 1868, when General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a declaration for an observance ceremony to take place on May 30, 1868.
That year, more than 100 exercises were performed across the nation, multiplying quickly in the years that followed, climbing to 300 in 1869. New York became the first state to observe May 30 as a legal holiday in 1873. By 1890, it was a legal holiday in all of the northern states.
Legislation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on June 28, 1968, made Memorial Day an official national holiday that would provide Americans with a three-day weekend. The legislation states that Memorial Day will be observed on the last Monday of May. The observed holiday falls on Monday, May 27 this year.
Before the observance was designated a national holiday, women in the southern states placed flowers not only on the graves of Confederate soldiers but on the graves of Union soldiers as well. This was due to the fact that most battles between the North and South had taken place on southern soil. This movement was viewed as one of reconciliation.
The fact that the San Marcos City Cemetery is the final resting place for so many veterans from so many wars makes it a particularly good location for the American Legion's annual Memorial Day ceremony, according to Commander Tom Tvrdik.
More than 150 years old and covering 45 acres, the San Marcos Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Texas' earliest pioneers. It is also the gravesite of veterans from every war fought by the United States, except for the American Revolution.
The original city cemetery was located on Hutchison Street where the former San Marcos Library building still stands at 310 W. Hutchison. The first burial of record there was in 1846.
For more information about the Memorial Day program, call 353-1943 or 353-8443.