Speaker urges veterans to share stories

Staff writer

Guest speaker John Barker reminded veterans of the importance of sharing their stories Monday morning during Memorial Day services at the Civil War Monument in Marion Cemetery.

Barker encouraged family members and friends of veterans to inquire about their stories because of the catharsis that can come with talking about war memoires.

“The last thing in the world a vet wants to do is go to war,” Barker said. “A lot of World War II veterans don’t tell their stories, possibly because they are too horrific. But we need those stories to know why not to go to war.”

Barker also shared a Memorial Day memory from 1959.

“My Dad died when I was 8 years old,” he said. “They still called Memorial Day, Decoration Day, back then.”

At the time, Barker said his father’s grave only had a footstone.

“I still remember how the honor guard asked where Dad’s grave was and put a flag up for him,” he said. “He didn’t have a headstone but he had a flag and it made such an impression I me.”

Barker said when vets tell their stories it also helps preserve the true meaning of the holiday.

“There are so many people out today getting ready for barbeques and I think some of us wonder, ‘Are you going to remember us?’” he said. “I think they do. This is our holiday. People should know who served.”

During the ceremonies, Leslie Schneider, Toni Stephens, and Jerry Kline also read the names of deceased veterans of Marion County.

Those in attendance sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Deceased veterans of all wars were honored with a decoration of the memorial.

The honor guard also presented military honors in memory of their fallen comrades.

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