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Paying tribute

Dennis Gilbert has been participating in Memorial Day programs in the area for about 30 years and says the message of honoring fallen service men and women is still essential.

Veterans and patrons pay their respect to the flag Monday during the playing of taps near the Veterans Memorial Wall at Fort Seward. John M. Steiner / The Sun
Veterans and patrons pay their respect to the flag Monday during the playing of taps near the Veterans Memorial Wall at Fort Seward. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Dennis Gilbert has been participating in Memorial Day programs in the area for about 30 years and says the message of honoring fallen service men and women is still essential.

"Not more or less important than it has been," he said. "Just always important."

Gilbert, a Korean War veteran, commanded the joint American Legion and VFW Color Guard during Memorial Day activities in Jamestown Monday. The unit posted the colors at the Knights of Columbus Hall for the Memorial Day program and presented the flags and gun salutes at Jamestown area cemeteries later in the morning.

They also participated at the naval ceremony at the Nickeus Park bridge where a wreath was lowered to the James River and taken by the currents to honor those lost at sea during America's wars.

The Rev. Randy Jaspers, regional minister for Northern Plains Region of North American Baptist Conference, told those gathered that Memorial Day was originally meant as an observance for those who died for their country. It has since expanded to include a tribute to all who have served or are currently in the military.

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Jaspers' presentation centered on his grandfather, Abe Jaspers, who was one of the tens of thousands who volunteered or were conscripted into the Army during World War I.

Abe Jaspers trained in the United States before shipping to France in late 1918.

"He was training in France and in position for a final push when an armistice was announced," the Rev. Randy Jaspers said.

Jaspers said in many cases, the events of World War I and even World War II have been forgotten as are sometimes veterans who have served more recently.

"Some have scars," he said. "Some know the pain of losing family and colleagues. We ask they do no keep those memories bottled up. We would like to hear your memories."

Ceremonies closed at the Veterans' Memorial Wall at Fort Seward about 11 a.m. While skies had been cloudy through much of the morning, rain did not start until after the last of the outdoor events.

Jaspers' final call was for people to pray for those that serve and for the day there will be no more war.

"This is our time to remember and honor those that served," he said.

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN
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