News: Fort Des Moines Museum celebrates Memorial Day
By Spc. Gabriel Coco
203rd Public Affairs Detachment
DES MOINES, Iowa - Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, when friends and family get together for picnics and outdoor activities. It is also the day we pay respect to those past and present, who serve and have given their lives for our country. The Fort Des Moines Museum held a commemorative ceremony honoring members of our armed forces, May 24.
The museum has held services for the event seven years running. Service members and their families, veterans, supporters, and longtime supporter of veterans, U.S. Congressman Tom Latham, came to show their support and appreciation. The Hoover High School band played during the ceremony.
The event was narrated by Air National guardsman Lt. Col. Monica Blakley, who spoke about the history of Memorial Day and how the commemoration began. Blakley says the service holds importance not only for service members, but citizens as well. “If you are a current or past service member, family of a service member, or never had the honor of wearing a uniform of one of our military services, we are all a community. It is important we remember as a community. On this day, we acknowledge and remember those we have loved. We hold their names and faces in our minds and remember their courage and dedication.”
Following the introduction, Fort Des Moines Museum executive director, Michael Kates, offered words of welcome and thanks to those in attendance. Kates spoke of the mission for Fort Des Moines Museum to further community cohesiveness through awareness and education provided by events and ceremonies such as the Memorial Day celebration.
The ceremony continued with the presentation of the colors, and the national anthem sung by Air National Guard Master Sgt. Rebecca Starmer.
Guest speaker, Operations and Training Officer for the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Col. Rob Wiley, spoke of how honoring sacrifice is not unique to America, but how Memorial Day is a holiday uniquely American.
“Our day to remember those who died in service did not begin at the end of a war between nations,” Wiley said. “It was born at the end of a war we fought within our borders, a war fought between states, a war fought between brothers.”
The U.S. Marines presented the ceremonial wreath and the folding of the American flag before the standing crowd.
“Many service men and women return home from deployments to streets decorated with yellow ribbons. Others return home in a casket, draped with the most honored decoration of all…the American Flag,” said Wiley. “They gave everything to support and defend this nation built on life, liberty, and hope. We owe our service. We owe our optimism.“
“We owe our lives.”