Memorial Day ceremonies planned

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Veterans salute the flag during a Memorial Day service last year. Commemorations are planned for Saturday and Monday in Suffolk at three different cemeteries.

Memorial Day is an opportunity for citizens to recognize and remember soldiers who died while serving their country.

To commemorate the day, several community organizations are hosting ceremonies to honor these veterans.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy Suffolk Chapter 173 will host an event Saturday at 10 a.m. at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

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Chapter president Susan Carraway said this year’s event is particularly special because it marks the 150th anniversary of the first Confederate soldiers leaving Suffolk to fight in the Civil War.

“These men, these Confederate soldiers, had risked their lives to protect their homes,” she said. “These men were brave, and they left everything they had to fight and keep their Virginia.”

Carraway said the chapter’s members are carrying on a practice that their predecessors began more than a century ago.

“The ladies of the Suffolk Chapter started marking the Confederate graves of soldiers over 100 years ago, and we are continuing the tradition,” she said.

To honor the fallen, the members will use flags to mark the graves of soldiers in Cedar Hill, and they will place flowers at the base of the cemetery’s Confederate monument.

B. Frank Earnest, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will be the keynote speaker at Saturday’s event.

“We welcome everyone to come, whether they have a Confederate ancestor or not,” Carraway said.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9382 will host a separate ceremony Monday at 10 a.m. at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.

Lakeland High School’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC will present the colors at the event.

Afghanistan veteran and Bronze Star recipient Maj. Jeremy Mushtare will be the speaker for the event.

Del. Chris Jones will attend the ceremony and say a few words, as well.

VFW Post 9382 adjutant Victor Goodman said the ceremony is an opportunity for the community to recognize the soldiers who fought for the country throughout the years.

“It’s their way to honor them and thank them for their service,” Goodman said.

Also on May 30, the Norman R. Matthews Post 57 of the American Legion will hold a ceremony at Cedar Hill Cemetery at 11 a.m.

“(The event) is to honor Memorial Day and the people who have served,” said American Legion post commander Jim Thorsen.

The speaker for the event is the Rev. Michael D. Halley, from Suffolk Christian Church.

Halley, who served as a commander in the chaplain corps in the Navy, will give a speech titled, “The Power of Memory.”

The post members will place wreaths to honor veterans of all American conflicts.

“We feel it’s important that we have a ceremony on this day to keep it in the consciousness of the public today,” Thorsen said.

Carver Cemetery also will commemorate Memorial Day on May 30 at 11 a.m.

Cemetery manager Gail Turner said the names of all the veterans who have died in the past year, from January 2010 until this month, will be called to be remembered during the event.

Additionally, Bishop Ted Thomas and the choir from the New Community Temple Church of God and Christ will be in attendance.

“We do this in honor of the families that did us this service,” Turner said. “We think it’s important that they come out and honor their loved ones.”

All of the Memorial Day events are free and open to the public.