Attendance at the the Salem Cemetery Association’s Memorial Day Flag Program was high in spite of the rain. Boy Scout Troop No. 311 began the program presenting the U.S. and Texas flags, along with Beth Tyson Boyd and Kinsey A. Kelly singing patriotic songs. George Leuba followed this opening by playing “Taps.”
Next on the agenda was guest speaker was Jeff Siler, Marketing teacher at Atlanta ISD. Siler who attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, spoke of his first morning at West Point. He was awakened by the commanding voice of former U.S. General, Douglas MacArthur, who spoke that day of fallen soldiers: “I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country.”
Siler also spoke of great sacrifices made by American solders and how Americans should never forget those sacrifices. In closing, Siler said: “When we listen with thirsty ears for the music and words of our National Anthem, when we say the Pledge of Allegiance, or when we see our flag flowing, that we stand up, we face the flag, and we hold our heads high. And most of all, when we see the red in that flag, we will remember the blood that has been shed, is being shed, and will be shed by men and women for this great nation!”
President Susan Anthony and Director Donna Simmons presided over the Ribbon Cutting and Sign Dedication. In addition to designing the sign, Simmons also oversaw it’s construction. Construction of the sign was made possible over the past year by donations and skills of generous family and friends. Billings designed an index for the old section (west side) which includes an alphabetical list of names of those buried and their location. The next step in the process is creating the same information for the new section (east) of the cemetery, along with other historical information. Because there are over 1,00 graves sites, this information is extremely helpful when searching for a friend or loved one.
The Boy Scouts and volunteers placed flags on graves of 112 Veterans buried in cemetery. Following the ceremony, refreshments were served to all in attendance.