“…Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants into thy kingdom…”
From President Franklin Roosevelt’s remarks to the Nation on D-Day
Natchitoches’ downtown riverbank was filled with many veterans, families and area residents May 30 as the community held its annual Memorial Day Program.
Jeremy Miller, NSU Army ROTC alumni, former Army officer and combat veteran, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Ron Brown gave the opening prayer. After Samuel Maggio led the Pledge of Allegiance, Sarah Puryear Dunn performed a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem. Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams welcomed the crowd. He was joined on the stage by Natchitoches Fire Chief John Wynn, Sheriff Stuart Wright and WW II veteran Leland Lacaze. The Memorial Day address was delivered by State Senator Louie Bernard who spoke of the service, sacrifice and heroism of several local WW II veterans. After Senator Bernard’s speech, Makenna Middlebrooks performed a wonderful rendition of “America the Beautiful”. Trish Gilbert read the names of veterans newly commemorated this year with new bricks in the Veterans’ Memorial Park.
The name of each of the area veterans who passed away over the past year were read by Janet Darfus, Dee Fowler and Tommy Stewart after which Dr. John Dunn played Taps.
A moment of silence was observed after which Rev Matthew Pagels delivered the closing prayer. Ms. Kidron Pagels led the crowd in in an absolutely superb rendition of the classic “God Bless America.” The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes her all the best as she embarks on her studies at NSU this fall.
The ceremony is part and parcel of what Winston Churchill referred to as “the long continuity of our institutions.” It, and ceremonies like it across the country, bind us together as a nation. In the increasingly fractious country we find ourselves in, things like Memorial Day and its remembrances remind us of what is important.
The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the event photography. The veteran’s families are welcome to download any they wish.