Memorial Day -- Fallen warriors honored in Morgan City ceremony
MORGAN CITY, La. — Memorial Day observations will grow in Morgan City if a handful of citizens who organized Monday’s second annual Memorial Day event at Cypress Park succeed in their efforts.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4222 and Maison Jardin put together a barbecue lunch for 120 people to recognize and honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
One of the organizers of the event said that after living in Ohio for more than 20 years where there were significant Memorial Day events and parades, she was disheartened to return home and see so little being done in St Mary Parish for Memorial Day. That brought about last year’s observation at Cypress Park and its repeat this year.
“I hope we are going to grow it and grow it,” Lisa Patterson, marketing manager for Maison Jardin, said. “We are here today to say a prayer for the men and women who have fought for our freedom.”
Patterson and Shermon Whiting, quartermaster for VFW Post 4222, worked to organize the event. Whiting, who is also the newly elected District 3 VFW commander, was unable to make the event because of health reasons, Patterson said.
Mayor Frank Grizzaffi opened the observation with welcoming comments after a presentation of colors by the Morgan City High School ROTC, the pledge of allegiance recitation by Tina Stratton, VFW Auxiliary District 3 vice-president, and the singing of the national anthem by Peytan Theriot.
“I think it is a city’s responsibility to honor and recognize the service of those that have made sacrifices for their country,” Grizzaffi said.
Sheron Steward, a Garden City minister and mental health and substance abuse counselor, was the featured guest speaker.
“We are here to honor those dedicated enough to give their lives for our freedom and this is a celebration of that (dedication),” Steward said. Memorial Day itself, is a celebration of the “lives, adventures and dedication” of all those that died in the service of their country, she said.
“I have seen too many folks I know die in combat and other things,” Don Tellman said. Tellman volunteered to cook the barbecue meal with his wife, Matta. “I am glad to do anything with the veterans, POWs and MIAs,” said Tellman.
Tellman, a 24-year Navy veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, said that he trained many of the operators among the 129 submariners of the USS Thresher. The nuclear-powered submarine and all souls on board died when it sank on April 10, 1963, while on a sea trial run.
Those honoring the memories of lives lost, during peace time or during conflict, are given a unique opportunity, according to Steward.
This is a time that people, soldiers and civilians alike, can stand up and say, “We have your back,” she said.
A brief “Meaning of Memorial Day” was given by Sinclair Callais early in the program, which was followed by a rifle drill team performance by the Morgan City High ROTC.
The audience was asked to stand for a brief ceremony of respect and honor that began with recognition of those missing in action and prisoners of war.
Brittany Saucier presented the Memorial wreath.
The East St. Mary Veterans Funeral Squad concluded the event with a gun salute and taps.
The high school Reserve Officers’ Training Corps retired the colors and a prayer and blessing of the meal was given by the Rev. Roy Mellish, retired pastor of Trinity Episcopal church.
Danny and Rhonda Titus of Youngsville helped the Tellmans prepare the meal.