Iuka continues tradition service for veterans

Our Staff
Pratt Tribune
Lorelai Buck and Kiersten Buck place American flags in a special stand during the Iuka Memorial Day Ceremony at the Iuka Cemetery. Each flag represents a resident of the Iuka area that served in the military and either died during that service or has died since they retired. Liam Kahmeyer plays a drum beat after each name is read twice. Marjorie Buck, host for the event, listened reverently.

The Iuka Methodist Church and local citizens have honored veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice with a church service and a ceremony at the Iuka Cemetery for 135 years, this year was no exception although the ceremony was modified.

On Memorial Day, the church service for the 136th memorial event was canceled in Iuka but dozens gathered at the Iuka Cemetery to carry on a tradition of honor and respect.

More than 80 attended the ceremony which was carried out despite a light mist, predicted stormy weather and coronavirus concerns that caused the cancellation of several other such events in Pratt County.

A group of Boy Scouts handed out programs to families, individuals and friends who maintained social distance in small groups.

Host of the event Majorie Buck told the crowd gathered that even if they could only meet a few minutes, there would be a ceremony to honor those that had fallen for their county.

She led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the singing of "God Bless America."

Kiersten Buck gave the same Gettysburg Address that President Abraham Lincoln gave when the cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated.

Larry Briggeman gave the Roll Call of the Dead, patterned after a war-time tradition. After a battle, troops would be gathered and their names called. If a soldier did not answer, their name was called again. If that soldier had died, a drum beat was sounded.

Over 170 names were on the list for those that had served from the Iuka area. Some died while serving, some died after they left the military but all had served their country.

Briggeman read each name twice while Lorelai Buck and Kiersten Buck placed an American Flag for each person in a special stand. Liam Kahmeyer sounded a drum beat after every name.

Local young girls Reagan Blasi, Avery Blasi, Jacie Hemphill and Goldie Hemphill placed flowers at the base of the monuments to the Civil War Veterans and to the members of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives for freedom.

In a final tribute, Mark Graber played Taps as the crowd stood in reverent silence.