Remembering the fallen: Memorial Day services planned in Columbus and Hope

Bartholomew County residents will commemorate Memorial Day in ceremonies and services in Columbus and Hope.

Multiple observances are scheduled Monday to allow community members a variety of ways to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

In Columbus, Memorial Day ceremonies include:

  • 9 a.m. – Rose petals will be tossed into East Fork White River from the north side of the Robert N. Stewart (Second Street) Bridge. This ceremony honors all military personnel who died in U.S. Navy engagements. Descendants of those who have lost a cherished friend or loved one at sea often participate in this event.
  • 10 a.m. – Ceremony at the veteran’s section of Garland Brook Cemetery. This observance on Garland Brook’s northwest side is designed to have a religious component. With more than 3,000 veterans buried in Columbus’ largest cemetery, this ceremony has been held annually since 1972.
  • 11 a.m. – If the weather is good, it is anticipated that more than 200 people will attend the Bartholomew County Community Memorial Day service. It takes place next to the Veterans Memorial near the county courthouse. Since there are a limited number of chairs, it is recommended that those who attend either bring a lawn chair or a blanket for seating.

Following pre-ceremony music and a hymn by the Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums, wreaths will be laid at the memorial by representatives of the Gold Star Mothers, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the auxiliaries of both the VFW and American Legion.

Heeth Jewell, who works with Jewell-Rittman Funeral Home, will read the name of each local military veteran who has died since the last Memorial Day ceremony. After each name is read, a large, nickel-plated 10-inch bell will be sounded.

During all three ceremonies in Columbus, fallen service members will be honored by a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.” Columbus City Band member Michael Schmelz has been invited to perform the tradition bugle call at the 11 a.m. ceremony.

In case of bad weather, the 11 a.m. event will be held inside Columbus City Hall in the Cal Brand meeting room. For those unable to attend in person, the local observance will be carried on WCSI Radio, 1010 AM and 98.1 FM.

The town of Hope has maintained its own Memorial Day traditions for more than 70 years. The public is invited to watch as members of American Legion Post 229 salute deceased veterans buried in eight area cemeteries Monday morning. A full service will be conducted at each location.

  • 8:30 a.m. – Sharon Cemetery on County Road 700E, where part of the service will honor of Jonathan Moore (1754-1853), who served as a body guard for General George Washington.
  • 8:50 a.m. – Newbern Cemetery: County Road 850E and County Road 225N. This ceremony honors several who died in the Civil War.
  • 9:15 a.m. – Hartsville Town Square. Ceremonies will be held to commemorate veterans buried at two separate cemeteries in Hartsville.
  • 9:40 a.m. – Hawcreek Church Cemetery: Stafford Road and County Road 900E.
  • 10 a.m. – Simmons Cemetery: County Road 625E, south of County Road 950N.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Old St Louis Cemetery: County Road 670E, south of County Road 800 N.
  • 10:30 a.m. – Hawcreek Bridge on West Jackson Street in Hope. This ceremony is in honor of those lost at sea.
  • 11 a.m. – The Hope Memorial Day service, located at the northeast corner of the Hope Moravian Cemetery.

The 11 a.m. service has traditionally drawn the largest crowd in northeast Bartholomew County. The event will include comments made by the commander of the local American Legion post, the recitation of eight names of deceased veterans newly added to the granite stone memorial, the traditional rifle volley and the playing of “Taps.”

Celebrating Memorial Day

If you cannot attend one of the Memorial Day services on Monday, here are other ways to show your patriotism and respect our fallen service men and women.

Decorate with flags. For many years, it has been a tradition to decorate graves of fallen soldiers with flags on Memorial Day. Another tradition is to fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. If you have a flag pole, consider joining the tradition this year.

Thank a veteran. While Memorial Day is a time for remembering and honoring our fallen soldiers, it’s also a wonderful time to thank soldiers past and present who are right here in our midst today. Don’t know a veteran or want to do more? Write a letter to a veteran or soldier. Check out for more information.

Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. In an effort to ensure Memorial Day is the sacred and noble holiday it is intended to be, the National Moment of Remembrance asks all Americans to pause for one minute in an act of national unity wherever we are at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day.

Buy a poppy. During the days leading up to Memorial Day, members of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) accept donations for poppies. The poppy’s significance to Memorial Day derives from John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields.” Disabled and needy veterans in VA hospitals have been assembling Buddy Poppies since 1924. Purchase a poppy and your donation assists in maintaining state and national rehabilitation and service programs for veterans.

Watch a patriotic movie. If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the sacrifices that these brave men and women continue to make, consider watching a movie like Black Hawk Down or The Hurt Locker to get the full picture. However, take care not to expose young children to extreme cinematic violence. Patriotic films considered more appropriate for family viewing include “Battle of Britain”(1969), “Dear John”(2010), “Empire of the Sun” (1987), “Max” (2015”), “Honor Flight” (2012) and “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” (2018).

Source: United Service Organizations