Remembering our veterans on Memorial Day

Memorial Day services were held on May 29 in both Morris and Hancock. The Morris service took place at the National Guard Armory starting at 9 a.m. and continued at the cemetery. The Hancock service started at 10 a.m. at Lakeside Cemetery.

In Morris, at the armory, Jerome Hanson spoke to the crowd about his experiences when touring with Duke, a 1942 Harley Davidson motorcycle produced for World War II. During his tours he met Jim Clermont, who fought at Normandy from the Battleship USS Herndon. Mr. Clermont shared a copy of his diary which chronicled the activities during the invasion and the terrible loss suffered by American ships. 

The Herndon was one of the few ships that escaped almost unscathed from the battle that lasted three days. Clermont told about long days and sleepless nights and watching nearby ships sink, taking many of his friends with them. The story would often bring tears to your eyes as you could relive the scene through his words.

Following the speech by Hanson, the Morris Community Band played and the crowd then dispersed to the cemetery for a salute to Fallen Soldiers.

At 10 a.m. a Memorial Day Service was held at Lakeside Cemetery near Hancock. Pastor Julius Miller spoke to the crowd gathered there, seated in lawn chairs, about the greatest sacrifice given by God and also the sacrifices of parents and soldiers. He encouraged everyone to remember their sacrifices and pass it on. Our freedom exists because of countless acts of courage and sacrifice.

Adam Blair then spoke to the crowd about the Battle of Samar during the invasion of the Phillipines. The Battle of Samar was the centermost action of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, one of the largest naval battles in history, which took place in the Philippine Sea off Samar Island, in the Philippines on October 25, 1944. It was the only major action in the larger battle in which the Americans were largely unprepared. 

After his recount of the battle, Blair stated that sailors who managed to get off the sinking ships were forced to also endure several days at sea before being rescued, this included nightly shark attacks. He stated that in the battle, 1,161 men died. 116 died at sea waiting to be rescued. 

Barry Nelson then read the roll call of the dead from all wars and peace time conflicts. A 21 gun salute was given followed by the playing of taps.