Memorial Day ceremony honors fallen soldiers

American Legion Edwin Hardy Post 9 Commander O.C. Dunsmoor receives a proclamation from American Legion 11st District Commander Steve Cook for the Post’s 100th Anniversary. 





By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


The Cameron community gathered to honor those lost in defense of our freedom on Monday at the Milam County Courthouse for the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

The ceremony event was sponsored by the American Legion Edwin Hardy Post 9 and the Post Auxiliary.

American Legion Division 2 Commander Steve Cook spoke about honoring our heroes during the ceremony.

“We’re here today to honor our service members and to remember the sacrifices they have made in honor of duty, honor, country,” Cook said. “We’re here today to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices.  Thinking of the heroes who join us in this group today and those who are here only in spirit, a person can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we encounter.  We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served.”

Cook said the service members honored came from all walks of life, but they shared several fundamental qualities.  They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity – all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.

“Many of them didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight on distant battlefields,” Cook said.  “Many didn’t even volunteer.  They didn’t go to war because they loved fighting.  They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves.  They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times.  They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation, which has given them, us, so much.”

Cook said the idea for Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, arose from the ashes of the Civil War.  Following the Civil War, at least 620,000 Americans, both Union and Confederate, had been killed and hundreds of thousands more were maimed.  Through the course of the war, Americans had blasted at each other’s lines with cannons and burned cities and towns on our own soil.  Americans had locked each other in prisoner of war camps and torn up the railroads connecting north to south.  

Homes, schools and churches from Antietam to Vicksburg were riddled with bullet holes.  The war’s unprecedented carnage and destruction was on a scale not even imaginable a few years before, and it changed America’s view of war forever.  From those dark times, it was the families who were honoring their dead that began to bring the light of reconciliation.  

“Although there are different versions of how Memorial Day began, one story goes that the grieving families, both Northern and Southern, began decorating the graves of their lost Soldiers with flowers and wreaths,” he said.  “In one city in Mississippi, people decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate troops, out of respect for the families of the Union Solders, and with the hope that someone would do the same for their lost loved ones in the North.”

These informal honors led to the first formal Memorial Day observance in Waterloo, N.Y., on May 5, 1866.  Congress officially recognized Memorial Day as a federal holiday in 1887.  Since then, with each passing year and subsequent conflicts, we’ve continued to honor our troops.

American Legion 11th District Commander Ricky Wilson also spoke. Then the names of all those lost in wars were read and wreaths were placed by the American Legion and Auxiliary and VFW Post 2010 and Auxiliary.

The American Legion Post was honored with a proclamation celebrating their 100th anniversary by Cook.