Veterans, loved ones honored in Pratt on Memorial Day Weekend

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Janna Heberman (left) is joined by Lee and Gail Ochs at the grave of shared veteran Stanley Burnette on Saturday at Pratt's Greenlawn Cemetery.

Pratt's Greenlawn Cemetery was a place where friends and families met to remember loved ones while placing beautiful flowers, patriotic flags and other tokens of memorial this 2021 Memorial Day Weekend.

Pratt native and college student Kedric Spurgin joined his dad James Spurgin and other relatives on Saturday at the graves of his grandfather and great-grandfather who were both war veterans to place service flags in their honor.

"My grandfather fought in the Vietnam War and my great-grandfather was a WWII veteran," Spurgin said.

Kedric Spurgin (left) and his father, James Spurgin, unroll and place military service and American flags for their veterans at Greenlawn Cemetery on Saturday, May 29 in preparation for Memorial Day 2021.

Also honoring veterans as well as friends and family members were Lee and Gail Ochs of Overland Park who came home to Pratt to pay their respects on May 29.

"I used to walk through this cemetery every year with my father," said Gail Ochs, who lived and worked in Pratt many years as an attorney. "I'm just here continuing the tradition, visiting old friends, putting out more than 20 memorials. This is home. This is coming home. We will come here someday to be buried. We live in Overalnd Park now, but Pratt is our home."

Janna Heberman, who along with her dog Jake, met up with the Ochs at the grave of joint family-member Stanley Burnette, said this was what Memorial Day Weekend was all about for her.

"Coming here to Pratt, meeting up with old friends and remembering our families and loved ones, that's just what it is all about," Heberman said. "It's good to be here sharing the good memories and honoring our veterans."

Burnette, a sibling's in-law for Ochs and former family friend of Heberman, was a veteran who served his country from 1955-1958 as a pilot in the United States Air Force, leaving the service with the rank of Captain. He died in October 2011.

Though rainy weather dowsed many actual Memorial Day plans in southcentral Kansas on Monday, the weather on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday, May 28, 29 and 30, was comfortable and sunny allowing many to visit area cemeteries to honor and remember their loved ones, especially those for whom Memorial Day was established, the ones who didn't make it home from military service and gave their all for their country and the freedoms now enjoyed by those still living.

The American flag waves freely in the breeze over the Veterans of All Wars memorial Saturday at Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt.
Even little dog Jake seems to understand the honor and meaningful memories that go along with Memorial Day Weekend visits to area cemeteries, on which he accompanied his owner Janna Heberman on Saturday in Pratt.