The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 24, 2013

Events, activities planned to honor veterans Monday

From staff reports

— No ceremonies are planned at Joplin cemeteries this year or at Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City, but a number of other events are scheduled in cities around the region.

In Pittsburg, Kan., a former Kansas general and Medal of Honor recipient will be remembered and the Adjutant General of Kansas will be the keynote speaker at a Memorial Day service to be held Monday at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater.

There also will be a rifle drill by the Topeka Junior ROTC Marine Rifle Team. The team, based at Topeka High School, is in its 18th year and has won national honors. Their routine, which is five to seven minutes long, uses no spoken commands.

“It’s very impressive,” said Melvin Rupard, a World War II vet and a member of American Legion Post No. 43, which is coordinating the event.

Lee Tafanelli, Kansas Adjutant General, will be the keynote speaker. He joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 1980 and received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers through Army ROTC at Pittsburg State University in 1982. While serving as commander of the 891st Engineer Battalion, he led it on its deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Later, he commanded the 69th Troop Command and was director of operations for the Kansas National Guard.

The PSU Brass Ensemble will perform the National Anthem, while Col. Bob Marshall will honor military heroes including Gen. Frederick Funston (1865-1917), a medal of honor recipient from Iola, Kan., who is best known for his service in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War.

During the ceremony, Tafanelli’s wife will lay a wreath and the Frontenac American Legion Rifles will conduct a firing of honors, Dalton Williams of the PSU Music Department will play “Taps,” and 19 new memorial pavers also will be unveiled and dedicated.

The ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. at 1090 S. Rouse Ave. and is open to the public.

In Miami, Okla., Vietnam veteran Clint Huffman will be the keynote speaker at a Memorial Day ceremony Monday at Miami’s G.A.R. Cemetery. The ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Afterward, Brown-Winters Funeral Home will provide lunch in the cemetery gazebo.

This year’s ceremony will be conducted by American Legion Post No. 147, Marine Corps League (Northeastern Oklahoma Detachment), Vietnam Era Veterans of America (Chapter 277), and the 4 State Friends of Veterans.

David Rountree, Miami, and the Associate Pipers from Tulsa Pipes and Drums will perform a patriotic ensemble and “Amazing Grace.”  Amanda Cole will perform “Taps.”

Boy Scouts will help with the placement of approximately 2,000 flags on veteran’s graves over Memorial Day weekend. Families also can come to the cemetery office to request flags to place on the graves of their family members.   

Cemetery Supervisor Kim Horn said, “The cemetery staff looks forward to and works toward Memorial Day every year. We want to invite the public to attend the ceremony and lunch. It truly is a special day of remembrance and fellowship spent with family and friends.”

In Carthage, a memorial service honoring local veterans will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Park Cemetery.

The Heartland Concert Band will perform, starting at 9:30 a.m., and Mark Buresh will be the keynote speaker. In case of inclement weather, the program will start a half-hour later at Carthage Memorial Hall.

The event is a cooperative effort of the Carthage Veterans Alliance including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Purple Heart group.

In Neosho, State Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, will be the keynote speaker at a Veterans Day ceremony set for 9 a.m. Monday at the IOOF Cemetery. The Neosho Air Force Junior ROTC is helping organize the event.

And between 15 to 20 veterans of World War II are to be special guests at a Memorial Day ceremony set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the courthouse in Pineville.

State Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, chairman of the House Veterans Committee, will be among speakers at the event.

“It’s going to be a great day of remembrance,” he said. “We’re losing our World War II veterans ... and I’m excited we’re going to be able to honor those who can be with us, and those who went before them.”