By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon tradition that spans three decades returns next Monday to an historic and patriotic local venue.
The Yukon Veterans Memorial will be the site of Yukon’s Memorial Day ceremony. The program starts at 10 a.m. May 31 near the front entrance of the Yukon Cemetery, 660 S Garth Brooks Blvd.
The ceremony – which took a COVID-19 break in 2020 – is back to honor and remember U.S. military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Since the early 1990s, the Yukon Cemetery has hosted a Memorial Day ceremony where names of all known veterans buried there have been read aloud.
For the first time, names of veterans buried in the Frisco Cemetery also will be read during Yukon’s Memorial Day ceremony.
Eddie “Mac” McFadden, commander of American Legion Post 160, said more than 1,400 names of veterans in the Yukon Cemetery and 214 names of veterans in the Frisco Cemetery will be read.
Next Monday’s program is presented by the Yukon American Legion and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus.
Volunteers are being enlisted to read more than 1,600 names during the ceremony.
After the names are read, former Yukon Mayor Larry Taylor will perform “Taps” on his trumpet. Cake and punch will be served.
The public is invited. A tent with chairs will be set up next to the Yukon Veterans Memorial.
Sponsors of Yukon’s Memorial Day ceremony are Yanda & Son Funeral Home, Ingram Smith & Turner Mortuary, Crossland’s Rentals, and Larry Taylor.
MOURNING OUR MILITARY HEROES
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States to honor and mourn military personnel who have died in the performance of their duties while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Volunteers place American flags on graves of military personnel in cemeteries.
The first Memorial Day ceremony at the Yukon Veterans Memorial was in May 1996 after the memorial was dedicated in November 1995.
The Yukon Historical Society and Yukon’s former Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter started Yukon’s Memorial Day observance as part of the city’s 1990 centennial celebration.
For several years in the early ‘90s, then-Yukon Cemetery Association board members Evelyn and George Basore organized the ceremony around a flagpole in the center of the cemetery before the Veterans Memorial was erected.
Carol Knuppel of the Yukon Historical Society has kept an updated list of U.S. veterans buried in the Yukon Cemetery. Names are inscribed on the Yukon Veterans Memorial’s large stone monuments.