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American Legion hosts Memorial Day commemoration

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This year’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Monday at the Gen. Douglas L. McBride Veterans Cemetery in South Park Cemetery, 3101 S. Main St. A Prisoner of War/Missing in Action wreath is being presented at the 2017 event in this file photo. (File Photo)

A local event to remember those who died in U.S. wars and military conflicts and to unite in a “day of prayer for permanent peace” will occur Monday at the Gen. Douglas L. McBride Veterans Cemetery.

Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday since 1971 that can trace its origins to 1868, when Decoration Day occurred as a tribute to Civil War veterans.

Since 1950, the United States as a whole has recognized Memorial Day as a “day of prayer for permanent peace,” as signified by a U.S. Congressional resolution. When it was named a federal holiday 48 years ago, it was designated as the last Monday of May.

In Roswell, the American Legion Post No. 28 will host events that begin at 8 a.m. with the laying of flags on veterans’ graves in South Park Cemetery, 3101 S. Main St. Volunteers are sought for that effort, according to the American Legion website.

At 10 a.m., a ceremony will begin at the Gen. Douglas L. McBride Veterans Cemetery, which is inside South Park Cemetery.

A Purple Heart recipient is scheduled to speak, with laying of wreaths by representatives of various military branches and organizations. The playing of “Taps,” a military bugle call, is also planned.

Mark Rowland, American Legion District 6 incoming chaplain, said that this day is not a day to thank veterans for their service, but a somber day to recall those who gave their lives. He said flags are to be flown at half-staff until noon.

The National Moment of Remembrance occurs at 3 p.m. local time. All U.S. residents are encouraged to spend one minute in silence or prayer as a display of national unity. Laying of the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia will be held at 1 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

President Donald Trump declared in his statement this year, “Those who rest in the hallowed grounds of our national cemeteries laid their lives upon the altar of freedom. Today, as we unite in eternal gratitude for the sacrifices of these extraordinary Americans, let us also offer a prayer for lasting peace.”