Memorial Day will be observed Monday. American flags will be placed on graves of veterans, while bright red poppies will be worn in remembrance. Solemn services will focus on the sacrifices of men and women who have served in order for “we the people” to remain free. Memorial services will take place across the nation and in foreign countries. At 3 p.m. local time, all Americans are encouraged to voluntarily and informally pause for a moment of silence, or listen with respect to the trumpet call of “Taps.” “Day is done, gone the sun, From the lake, from the hills, from the sky; All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.”

The American Legion Auxiliary Units will be observing the day through ceremonies and the National Poppy Program. In 1921, the auxiliary adopted the poppy as their remembrance flower and instituted the National Poppy Program to protect the flower from becoming commercialized. Every poppy is made by a disabled or hospitalized veteran. Each year, auxiliary volunteers from more than 9,500 units will distribute in excess of 25 million red crepe paper poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. One hundred percent of the donations received benefit veterans and their families. Across the U.S., the American Legion Auxiliary will join fellow Americans in ceremonies. They will pause and remember while posting flags on graves of veterans who served and sacrificed, many who met tragic ends during times of war.

In the small rural community of Natoma, four services will take place: North Catholic, 9:30 a.m.; North Immanuel Lutheran, 10 a.m.; Paradise Cemetery, 10:30 a.m.; and Natoma Cemetery, 11 a.m. A community-wide dinner will be at the Legion Post following the services, First and Main.

American Legion Auxiliary Units across Kansas invite you to attend memorial services, thank veterans for their service, thank their families and wear a red poppy in remembrance. Join the auxiliary in prayer, bow your heads in gratitude and recognize our fallen heroes’ faithful dedication to our nation. “We cherish, too, the poppy red that grows on fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies, that blood of heroes never dies.” (Excerpt from “We Shall Keep the Faith” by Moira Michael, 1918.)

The American Legion Auxiliary, founded in 1919, is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization with nearly 1 million members and 10,500 units in communities across the United States and several foreign countries. Each year, the auxiliary serves nearly 1 million veterans. In the Kansas heartland, 221 auxiliary units continue to elevate awareness in the challenges our veterans face. Our mission is to serve our veterans and their families by organizing multiple events throughout the year. We help veterans and their families; we give support to five Kansas VA facilities; we provide annual scholarships for graduates and financially underwrite Sunshine Girls State programs; we train high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism; and we inspire the nation through musical presentations. To learn more about the auxiliary’s mission, to join us, to volunteer or to donate resources, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.

Laah Tucker,

Natoma