Memorial Day Flags in Mount Pulaski

The City of Mount Pulaski annually displays twenty-six 16 ft. American flags on Memorial Day from dawn to dusk at the corner of Rte. 121 and McDonald St. on the SE side of town.  This year, Jeff Anderson and Matt Presswood did the honors.  Jeff related that this tradition was started sometime before he began working for the city over six years ago.  Jeff added that his brother honors their father's gravesite with an American flag in the Oglesby Elkhart Cemetery, while he proudly makes sure that these flags are up every Memorial Day in Mount Pulaski.  Jeff's father, Bill, served in both WWII and Korea, with his grandfather serving in WWI and his uncle in WWII.  Jeff said his uncle "got it pretty bad in the leg" in the South Pacific.  His dad performed duties for the U.S. Navy in a mop-up operation helping the Japanese after the end of WWII, and then went back to serve as a LTJG on a ship during the Korean Conflict.  These Rte. 121 flags are also proudly flown on 4th of July and Veteran's Day in November.  In the Mount Pulaski Cemetery, the Mount Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447, with help from the Mount Pulaski Boy Scout Troop 121, place over 450 American flags on each and every veteran's graves on Saturday morning before each Memorial Day.  On each Memorial Day morning at the break of dawn, the American Flag is lowered to half-mast at the Veteran's Memorial in the Mount Pulaski Cemetery high on the knoll where Memorial Day Services will be held at 10 am.  During this service, the Veteran's Memorial flag is two-blocked, where it remains 24-7 throughout the rest of the year.  In Steenbergen Cemetery south of town, 12 ft. American flags are flown on Memorial Day for each deceased veteran, with the veteran's name and identification number beneath each flag as they are place evenly alongside the roads that meander about the cemetery.  Steenbergen Memorial Day services are held at 11:30 in the Steenbergen Chapel.  The Mount Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447, Mount Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777 and Mount Pulaski SAL Squadron 447 perform rifle-squad military rites at both cemetery locations, with bugler Alan Roos always on hand to blow taps.  The Mount Pulaski High School and Grade School Bands play patriotic music at both locations, including of course, a beautiful resounding rendition of the United States Star Spangled Banner.
Finally, the Memorial Day Veteran's Honor Guard and SAL members make a visit to the veterans at Vonderlieth, personally shaking their hands and thanking them "for their service to our country".


text and photos by phil bertoni
217 341 8967