A total of seven wreaths were laid at Crown Hill Cemetery on Monday to honor the war dead on Memorial Day under clear blue skies during a solemn ceremony conducted by VFW Post 2591, American Legion Post 642, Voiture 333, 40 & 8, and the Smith-Cotton JROTC.

Lee Whited, VFW Post 2591 commander, was the master of ceremonies for the event as well as the guest speaker.

“Today, we honor the heroes we lost. Please pray for the loved ones they left behind, and as God as our witness, we solemnly bow to protect, preserve and cherish this land they gave their last breath to defend, and to defend so proudly,” Whited said during his speech.

The wreaths that were presented represented the war dead of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan, All Other Conflicts and Service Dogs lost during wartime.

A bell tolling ceremony then followed, with two rings heard per member lost over the past year who belonged to local veterans organizations. Whited read aloud the name of those who have passed since last year's ceremony at Crown Hill.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led jointly by Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson and Pettis County Presiding Commissioner Bill Taylor.

Recent Sacred Heart High School graduate Mariah Van Leer sang the National Anthem.

Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gray provided the Invocation, while Jim Gaertner, Aumonier, or Chaplain, for Voitiure 333, 40 & 8, provided the Benediction for the ceremony.

VFW Post 2591 Honor Guard provided a gun salute, which led to the playing of Taps.

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The ceremony was held at the opposite end of the grassy area where it normally is held on Veterans Memorial Drive in Crown Hill this year due to recent excessive rains. The area to the north was more elevated and less soggy.

In the top photo: Don Barbour and his wife Carolyn, (Voiture 333, 40 & 8) place a wreath honoring the World War I dead on Memorial Day with the assistance of a Smith-Cotton JROTC cadet.

Memorial Day Wreaths at Crown Hill

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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