COLUMBUS, Indiana — More than 160 people — double the turnout from last year — gathered Monday for the annual Community Memorial Day service at the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans in Columbus.

Attendance was also up for the service preceding it in the veterans sections of Garland Brook Cemetery.

Mild temperatures and abundant sunshine played a factor in attracting larger crowds to Memorial Day events. However, social media has also helped make more people aware of the impact that casualties of war leave behind, AMVETS commander Rick Caldwell said.

For example, memes depicting a young woman and her baby lying across a soldier’s grave, a widow on an air mattress in front of her husband’s casket, and a loyal dog laying wait at his Navy Seal master’s coffin have been circulating on Facebook since late last week.

“More people are bringing those images out, so that people can see the magnitude of what family members go through,” Caldwell said. “It’s powerful.”

Turn to Tuesday’s print edition of The Republic for full coverage of Memorial Day, including photographs from local ceremonies.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.