Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who have given their lives in the service of the country and reflect upon the scales of war.
Residents and veterans of Wylie are invited to honor those men and women in a Memorial Day program held Monday, May 30, at Olde City Park.
American Legion Hale-Combest Post # 315 is partnering with the city to provide the program.
Chuck Flesch, American Legion member and Marine Corps veteran, said there are two parts to the Memorial Day program.
The first part, the half-staff ceremony, will be from 7:45 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. Flesch said that military protocol dictates the flag be flown at half-staff beginning at dawn, but the Legion lowers the flags at 8 a.m. in Wylie to allow residents to attend.
By regulation, the flags go back to full staff at noon, Flesch said, adding that the Memorial Day Ceremony will be from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Mitchell Swann, commander of the American Legion post in Wylie, will oversee the morning program, and Flesch will manage the afternoon program.
Flesch will be one of the speakers this year, along with Mayor Matthew Porter and members of the American Legion Auxiliary.
“Memorial Day is a special day to me because it provides the opportunity to pause and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” Porter said. “Honoring their memory and the family and friends left behind is an important way that we can demonstrate our thankfulness.”
The city will be presenting Blue Star and Gold Star banners, Flesch said. Blue Star banners are for those with family members serving in the military during periods of war or hostilities, and Gold Star banners are for families of service members who were killed or died while serving.
“We will be folding a flag and presenting it to Mary Fagerstrom,” Flesch said. “Her husband, Brad Fagerstrom, passed away this past December. He was a United States Marine and Vietnam War veteran.”
Three wreaths will be presented during the event as well. The first wreath — which is red — honors those currently serving. The second wreath is blue and honors veterans. The final wreath, which is white, is placed in remembrance of those killed in action. Flesch said in the past, Gold Star family members have placed the white wreath.
“That is what Memorial Day is about,” Flesch said. “It’s not about Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day. It’s about honoring those killed in action.”
The Wylie Fire-Rescue honor guard will present the colors with an accompaniment from Wylie Fire-Rescue Pipes and Drums.
Additionally, Randall McGuire will be the bugler. There will also be a rifle team, said Flesch, which will perform a military salute at the end of the program.
“Everything we are supposed to do as military, we render all those honors,” Flesch said. “It’s a great ceremony if you have never seen it.”
Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day and originated in the years following the American Civil War. The first Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30 because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. It became a federal holiday in 1971.
Every Memorial Day, there is a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.