May 31, 2010 7:28 PM
About one hundred and fifty people came to a Memorial Day observance at the International Order of Odd Fellows cemetery in Orland. It is the first time the Orland Cemetery District held the ceremony and organizers say it was a success. "Orland has always proven to be a community that when it bans together, everybody comes out and it's really exciting, I'm jacked up about it, I'm pleased," Art Leonard, Orland Cemetery District Superintendent stated.
Speakers at the ceremony took time to reflect on those who died while fighting for freedom. They say remembering their bravery brings mixed feelings. "We honor their memories today, it's sad that they're gone but we're happy that they're peaceful," Navy Veteran Gordon Werner explained.
It wasn't just about those who have served, the patriotism is alive and well today. About forty-four hundred men and women serving in Iraq have recently died and more than a thousand in Afghanistan. Veteran Byron Denton says he often thinks about the hardships soldiers overseas face. "I had the cold, in Korea, but when I think about the guys in Iraq and Afghanistan with the sand and the heat and everything, my heart goes out to them, it really does."
The Orland Cemetery District recently dedicated some land for a new veteran memorial at the cemetery. There were five new flag poles installed, symbolizing the different branches of the military. The U.S. Army, created in June 1775 is the first branch. The U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy were also created in 1775. The U.S. Air Force was created by the National Security Act of 1947 and the U.S. Coast Guard was created in 1790.
Organizers plan to make this memorial ceremony an annual event. The Glenn Chorale performed several armed forces songs at the ceremony.