Taking time to remember heroes


With the American Legion Post 366 color guard standing at attention in the background, Lewis Hagen plays his horn at the start of the Memorial Day service at the park Monday. About 150 people attended this year?s event.

Hillsboro?s Memorial Day service was not so much about celebrating, but about commemorating, said guest speaker and Kansas State Rep. Bob Brookens of Marion during the ceremony Monday at Memorial Park.

It?s about commitment and the sacrifices soldiers made for us, he said to the more than 150 people attending.

Sacrifice involves more than being physically wounded, Brookens said.

Speaking of a soldier?s commitment even when they no longer wear the uniform, Brookens offered an example.

?My father died last March,? he said. His father had served in Europe at the Battle of the Bulge and witnessed the French liberation in Paris.

While attending the funeral, he said, one organization decided to picket.

?I was concerned about my whole family,? he said. ?How do we explain to all of them about this picketing??

Like an answer to a prayer, the American Legion Riders offered dignity and peace to Brookens? family by blocking out the noise and shouts.

?They stood guard to show peace and respect,? Brookens said.

Their presence allowed the family to forget about the picketers and concentrate on other things, he said.

?Some of these American Legion Riders attend funerals all over Kansas and will come early and stay late to keep the peace.?

These veterans are committed and they don?t know in advance if picketers will be at a funeral, but they are passionate about what they are doing.

He also reminded everyone about commitment and that on Memorial Day, besides flying the American flag or bringing flowers to a loved one?s grave, everyone can do more.

?What?s the difference between involvement and commitment?? he asked.

Speaking about ham and eggs, Brookens said, it?s the chicken that is involved with eggs, but it?s a pig who is fully committed to the ham.

People are in real need everywhere and when disaster strikes, Brookens said he hopes volunteers will step forward.

In his closing remarks, Brookens offered a prayer that we should all remember those soldiers who died and prayer we receive with humility the fruits of that sacrifice.

?Kindle a new commitment,? he said.

The ceremony also included the Color Guard, Sons of the American Will raising the flag, Lewis Hagen playing the ?Star Spangled Banner,? ?Taps? and other selections on the trumpet; Ruth Winter singing; Wayne Friesen, American Legion chaplain, offering prayer, and Brenda Kimberly, American Legion Auxiliary chaplin offering the Memorial Day prayer.

Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to take part in the American Legion steak dinner.

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