Cambria Memorial Day rites include memories, song, barbecue

Special to The CambrianMay 22, 2014 

American Legion Post No. 432 Commander Brian Griffin scouts the setting for Cambria’s Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday, May 26. Driver and owner of the 1954 Model Jeep is Cambria Chamber of Commerce Board President Mel McColloch, who saw combat during the Korean War.

HUGH SCOTT — Special to The Cambrian

By Hugh Scott

Special to The Cambrian

Cambrians are invited to hit the pause button in their extended weekend activities on Monday, May 26, long enough to reflect on the origin and purpose of Memorial Day.

American Legion Post No. 432 will mark the holiday with an informal blend of military ceremony and camaraderie, patriotic commentary and songs and a barbecue lunch, all starting at 11 a.m. at the Cambria Veterans Memorial Flag Stand, 1000 Main St., Cambria.

Memorial Day honors those who have fallen in combat in service to the country. In keeping with the holiday’s origin, Cambrian and Korean War vet Jim Wilson will recite (not read) The Gettysburg Address. Other activities include patriotic songs, presentation of a business award, and participation by Cambria Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H’ers and the Santa Lucia Middle School Leadership Class.

The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  The tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day began following World War I.  Legislation in 1971 changed the holiday’s date to the last Monday in May to ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays.

Jennifer and Harvey Smith, owners of the Harvey’s Honey Huts business, will receive the “Merchant of the Year” award named for Mel McCulloch, longtime Cambria Chamber of Commerce board president.

Randy Schwalbe will direct a men’s chorale singing patriotic songs.  American Legion Post No. 432 Commander Bryan Griffin will also deliver remarks.

Attendees will include county Dist. 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson and his father, Jack Gibson, who survived a World War II prisoner camp in Singapore.  Outdoor seating will be provided.

Barbecue hamburgers, hot dogs, salad and drinks will be available following the ceremony with a suggested $5 donation.

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