Memorial Day program success

WABENO – The Memorial Day Program presented by Legion Post #44 at its Veteran’s Memorial Park in Wabeno was extra-special this year. The weather forecast was not good, but the rain held off and the turnout was impressive. Post #44 members joined their Leadership Team and Honor Guard in hosting the annual event which drew a record crowd that took part in the solemn tribute to America’s fallen military. The Wabeno Area Public Schools Marching Band, under the direction of Michelle Boor, contributed the traditional mix of patriotic music that always adds a special dimension to the Ceremony.

The event was, for the most part, a conventional one. Commander George Richards welcomed the assemblage, Chaplain Dennis Coenen recited a beautiful prayer written for the occasion, Henry Severson conducted the powerful POW/MIA ceremony, the band played the Star - Spangled Banner, a medley of military branch theme songs and closed with Taps played by Ozari Ventura. 

Guest speaker Teri Severson’s keynote speech was very well-received by the audience which sat quietly enthralled as Teri recounted her experiences as a military spouse during the Vietnam Era. Representing Unit #44 Legion Auxiliary, Kathleen Marsh presented the ceremonial wreath honoring the fallen. 

What was so exceptional this year was the dedication of a recently added amenity to the green space, an impressive archway to the park’s walking trail. Post #44 erected the structure as a monument to Byron Erdman, long-time Legionnaire. 

In his address to the crowd, Commander Richards said, “It gives me great pleasure to present a special tribute to honor Bryon Erdman, our fellow Legionnaire who passed away in January. This latest addition to the park is the Byron Erdman War Memorial Pathway Arch. 

“This place was Byron’s park, his pride and joy. About 20 years ago, he removed trees and brush to start shaping this wooded area into a beautiful park. For over two decades, he worked tirelessly, recruiting volunteers to maintain the grounds, the vehicles, and the garage. It was all done to fulfill his dream which became his legacy project, personal mission, sacred duty and cherished honor.”  

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