The weather didn't stop this year's Memorial Day service.
Lt. Col. Herbert Strasser U.S. Army (ret.), born in Mahaska County, gave the keynote address during the Memorial Day service at American Legion Post No. 34 Monday morning. The ceremony had been moved to the American Legion due to rainy weather.
Strasser noted the history of Memorial Day during his speech. He noted that, as a child, he remembers Decoration Day. Strasser pointed out that, in 1971, the day officially became Memorial Day nationwide.
Two of Strasser's uncles served in the military and are at Forest Cemetery, he said. Strasser briefly discussed this uncles' service during his speech, as well.
The purpose of Memorial Day was also on Strasser's mind Monday.
“It's only appropriate that we remember those people because of all the things they have done for us,” Strasser said.
Strasser also pointed out that 1 in every 15 American service members who have served have been wounded or killed in battle.
“Many of those died sacrificing their own opportunity to pursue the benefits of society that they protected and have enabled us to enjoy,” he said. “Because of this, we owe them the honor that they have earned with this annual observance. It is difficult to do their sacrifice justice with a simple speech.”
In speaking to those at American Legion Post No. 34, Strasser also read from the “Gettysburg Address,” made famous by the 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Strasser said Lincoln's address served as a way to honor the dead and made an argument for why the nation should be a unified country.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.