Southeast Texas commemorates Memorial Day

Southeast Texas commemorates Memorial Day

Paying tribute to the fallen heroes whose sacrifices paved the way for America’s freedom and who have given their lives to protect this nation and its citizens is important to Southeast Texans as evidenced by the many Memorial Day community celebrations across the area commemorating those brave souls.

Beaumont

In Beaumont, Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home is hosting its annual Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 29. The dignified service begins in the chapel at 10 a.m. with patriotic music, a POW/MIA remembrance, an Honor Guard presentation, a three-rifle volley and the playing of taps, bagpipes and drums. Several guest speakers, including Vietnam Veterans of America SETX Chapter No. 292 President Kerwin Stone, will address attendees. The keynote speaker is Capt. Sharon Myers, 3-289th Regiment Battalion, U.S. Army.

Following the chapel service, guests will make their way to the Veterans Memorial Wall in Memorial Park for the laying of the wreaths and rifle team demonstration by West Brook JR ROTC students. The Honor Guard will post the colors, active and reserve veterans will provide a walk of honor and there will be a three-rifle volley “to remember those who have paid the supreme sacrifice,” said coordinator Sandra Womack.

Lunch is being prepared by the Beaumont Masonic Lodge No. 286 A.F. & A.M. and will be served following the Memorial Day service. There will also be a flag retirement ceremony by Vietnam Veterans of America, SETX Chapter No. 292. Everyone is encouraged to bring all worn and tattered flags to be retired properly.

At a City Council meeting May 23, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames proclaimed May 29 as Memorial Day in Southeast Texas and encouraged the public to attend the commemorative service at Forest Lawn. Forest Lawn Memorial Park Manager Danny Blanchard and VVA No. 292’s Stone accepted the proclamation.

“We’d like to encourage everybody to come out. … We have another big ceremony planned for this year,” said Blanchard. “We are honored this year to have the Beaumont Fire Department to be our Honor Guard. We will also be honoring World War II veterans. We will have plenty in attendance. One is 102 years old and will be placing the wreath at the wall this year... with a disabled vet.”

“The importance of Memorial Day is often overlooked in the coming of summer, people wanting to get to the beach or the rivers, to the water and out and about.” Stone remarked. “But regardless, we hope people will at least take a moment to stop and give thanks to those who gave their lives while in service to the country. That is, indeed, the purpose of Memorial Day.”

For more information regarding the event, contact Danny Blanchard, general manager at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, at (409) 892-5912 or danny [dot] blanchard [at] dignitymemorial [dot] com.

Orange

The city of Orange will remember veterans at a ceremony over Memorial Day weekend. The public is invited to the 14th annual tribute to Orange County veterans 6:30 p.m. Sunday, May 28, at the Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza, 3810 MLK Drive in Orange. The event is free.

Held annually on the plaza on the campus of Orange First Church of the Nazarene, the program includes special speakers, patriotic music and much more.

The event will feature greetings from District Court Judge Dennis Powell. Powell was elected to the bench of the 163rd District Court of Orange County and is now beginning his fifth term, having served the citizens of Orange County for more than 16 years. 

The patriotic tribute will honor all veterans and those currently serving in the military. The program will also feature the Southeast Texas Color Guard, Patriot Riders Motorcycle Group, Vietnam Veterans Mobil Museum, Community Band of Southeast Texas and other patriotic music. Complimentary refreshments will be served after the program.

The plaza features the life-size sculpture “Tears from a Grateful Heart” by Colorado-based artist Scott Stearman (scottstearman.com) and the names of scores of veterans from Orange County. Inscribed on plaques incorporated into the plaza are the names of airmen, sailors, soldiers and marines as well as veterans of the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Also featured in the plaza is the ship’s bell from the U.S.S. Dyson. Built in Orange, the U.S.S. Dyson went on to earn the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 battle stars for World War II service.

For more information about the event, call (409) 883-4674.

Vidor

The Vidor Lions Club is holding its annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony on Monday, May 29, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Vidor Lions Club Veterans Park Fields of Freedom near I-10 and Claiborne Street in front of the Raymond Gould Community Center.

Police Chief Rod Carroll will be the guest speaker, with music by Brit Godwin. New flags will be posted during the ceremony. Weather permitting, Chinese lanterns will be released after the playing of taps. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony. The event is free and open to the public.

Port Bolivar

Port Bolivar is supporting veterans during the Memorial Day weekend Texas Frog Festival, known generally as “Frog Fest,” a two-day country music festival benefitting the Lone Survivor Foundation.

Port Arthur

Jefferson County Commissioner for Pct. 2 Brent Weaver invites the public to join him this Memorial Day in remembering those who laid down their lives to maintain America’s independence and for the protection of this great nation’s citizenry.

“As Memorial Day approaches and as a veteran myself, it is a time to pause and consider the true meaning of this day,” said Weaver. “Memorial Day is about honoring those Americans who died while defending our nation and its values. ... While we should honor these men and women every day for the heroic contribution they have made to secure our nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.”

Reflect, remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms at the 2017 Memorial Day service Monday, May 29, at 2:30 p.m. at the Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial Park, located at 8100 Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur, near the bridge on the right going toward Bridge City.

This year’s guest speaker is Judge Kent Walston of the 58th District Court, Jefferson County, a Navy Veteran himself. The band will be playing patriotic music starting at 2 p.m., with the program beginning at 2:30.

“Please take the time to come out and see the Golden Triangle Veterans Park,” Weaver encouraged. “We have many military static displays on site for you to view as well as other information regarding veterans. Over the past few years, we have added several displays to our park, as well as conducted upgrades to areas of our park.

“As a Marine veteran (1986-1990) and the commissioner overseeing Veterans Park, I really appreciate those who have helped to preserve the honor and tradition of Veterans Park. It has been a team effort of all involved.”

Nederland

The city of Nederland will remember the country’s fallen heroes at a Memorial Day Tribute at Nederland Veterans Park, 207 N. 12th St., at 4:30 p.m. on Memorial Day. Nederland Parks Director Angela Fanette said this is the first year the city is hosting a Memorial Day event, and said she feels honored to be able to hold the ceremony at the Veterans Park, which is itself a tribute to America’s military men and women.

“We are very glad to be able to do this at the park, and we are very happy to have the park,” said Fanette. “My granddad is 92 and a World War II vet, so this really means a lot to me. It reminds me of him.”

Fanette said the Southeast Texas Veterans Group would present colors and perform a three-volley rifle salute at the event.

“They are wonderful to work with,” Fanette said of the veterans group, whose members perform military funerals for veterans and participate in numerous events all over the area honoring veterans and fallen heroes. “I can’t say enough about them. They are a spectacular group of individuals.”

Taps will be played at the tribute, and a member of the Nederland High School choir will sing the National Anthem. Jefferson County Pct. 2 Commissioner Brent Weaver will speak at the event. Nederland Masonic Lodge No. 1368 will post a commemorative wreath. Light refreshments will be served, and tarps will be placed in the park to offer shade.

Houston

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Allan Thomas Perkins will give the Memorial Day address Monday, May 29, at 9:30 a.m. at the Houston VA National Cemetery at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive in Houston. 

In Vietnam, Perkins served as a combat flight engineer with the 483rd Tactical Airlift Wing in Cam Ranh Bay. 

In addition to Perkins’ remarks, the event will feature a fly-over by a USCG Rescue Helicopter crew, parade of colors and wreaths by numerous local veterans’ organizations, ROTC units, and Boy and Girl Scout troops. All Boy and Girl Scout organizations in Southeast Texas are invited to attend. 

There will also be many symbolic highlights including a performance of taps and a cannon salute.  Guests who wish to visit gravesites are encouraged to arrive prior to 8 a.m. or after 1 p.m. following the Memorial Day service.

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