APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV)- While during holidays like Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, and the Fourth of July we celebrate our veterans, Memorial Day has a much more somber mood because it honors veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice.
One of those somber Memorial Day ceremonies took place at the Outagamie County administrative building on Saturday morning. The Fox Valley Veterans Council hosted a Veterans Memorial Processional which was supposed to be silent throughout- with the exception of bagpipe music and the playing of ‘Taps.’
“I think the silence really emphasized how somber this occasion is,” said Steve Boutwell who is a veteran and also the captain of the Patriot Guard Riders. The group comes to funerals for veterans throughout the year to honor them.
“Those are the guys who went into a room signed their name on a dotted line and were willing to give everything, including their own lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy today,” said Boutwell.
The ceremony also included a seven bell toll which is traditionally performed at veteran funeral services and other somber events involving veterans.
Each bell toll represents a virtue that all veterans share such as patriotism, respect, and willingness to sacrifice for others. As dignitaries rang the bell, a speaker read the names of Outagamie County veterans who passed away while serving our country.
“The somberness is essential in this type of event and it’s really essential when you’re putting forward that honor,” said Zach Zabel who is the community engagement manager for the Fox Valley Veterans Council and who is also a veteran.
Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 to honor fallen Civil War heroes. It was originally called Decoration Day because a big part of the day was decorating veteran graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags.
In 1873, New York became the first state to observe Memorial Day as an official holiday.
It became an official federal holiday in 1971.