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Cool, cloudy weather fails to deter Memorial Day crowd

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 3:29 p.m. CDT
Caption
Oregon VFW Post Commander Jerry Frana, left, and Oregon Mayor Tom Stone, right, salute after placing wreaths on the Solider & Sailors Monument on the Ogle County Courthouse lawn Monday. Stone and Frana are veterans of the Vietnam War. Photo by Earleen Hinton

Despite the cloudy skies and cool temperature more than 200 people gathered for the Memorial Day Ceremony held May 27 the Riverside Cemetery, Oregon.

After welcoming the crowd, VFW Post 8739 Commander Jerry Frana shared a story of four World War II Army Chaplains who lost their lives aboard the USAT Dorchester in 1943.

“Sometimes we need more than friends out there, we need faith,” said Frana whose story illustrated the heroic efforts of America's servicemen and women who literally give their own lives to save others.

The chaplains were last seen on the Dorchester's deck, arms linked and engaged in prayer, after having given their own life preservers so that other soldiers could escape the sinking ship.

Frana closed his portion of the program by encouraging all citizens to honor our fallen heroes.

“This Memorial Day, let us remember all who gave all,” he said.

The service began with the arrival of the color guard, followed by representatives local boy and girl scout troops, military family members, and the Oregon High School marching band.

The band performed “The Star Spangled Banner,” as well as “America the Beautiful” later in the service.

Several members of Oregon-Mt. Morris area girl scouts representing Troops 1137, 3503, and 3526 paid their respects by placing flowers on the veteran's graves.

“I think it's nice to show appreciation for the veterans who lost their lives for us,” said Girl Scout Troop 3526 member Hope Croegaert, Oregon.

Local historian Otto Dick provided information about Riverside Cemetery, including the fact that 27 Civil War veterans and two freed salves are buried there.

Among the veterans are Edward F. Dutcher who gathered 101 soliders to join the 74th Infantry out of Rockford, and James A. Butterfield, an attorney from Rochelle who died when the SS Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River in 1865.

The service concluded with a gun salute followed by a trumpet duet of “Taps.”

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