Memorial Day ceremony returns to Exeter

American Legion Post 94 will hold its traditional Memorial Day service at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 31

EXETER – The American Legion Post 94 in Exeter will be hosting their Memorial Day Service this coming Monday, May 31, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Exeter District Cemetery.

This year’s keynote speaker is Assemblyman Devon Mathis. Before joining the Assembly, Mathis served for 10 years as a sergeant in the Army National Guard, including two tours in Iraq. During his second tour in Iraq, Sgt. Mathis was severely injured in a roadside bomb attack, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.

During the service, Boy Scouts with Troop 309 in Exeter will raise the American flag and then lower it to half mast. The Exeter Union High School Monarch marching band will play a medley of songs from each branch of the U.S. Military. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 94 will lay a ceremonial wreath at the monument to the unknown soldier. A trumpet player from the band will conclude the service with the traditional playing of Taps.

Col. (ret) Jim Mainwaring, who is also commander for the American Legion Post 94 in Exeter, said there will be plenty of room for social distancing and face coverings will be left up to the individual.

“When it comes to masks, wear one if you feel you need to and if you are fully vaccinated follow the CDC guidelines,” Mainwaring said, referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks. “We have a lot of older folks attending this event so take precautions to stay safe and keep others healthy.”

Although, the service will take place on Monday at 8 a.m. there are things happening on Saturday, May 29. Beginning at 6 a.m., the community is invited to assist Legionnaires in placing approximately 1,600 small crosses and flags at veteran gravesites. Veterans buried in the cemetery date back to the Civil War and are as recent as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The community is also invited to help retrieve the crosses and flags at 3:30 p.m. on Memorial Day.

“We would love to have the community’s support in placing and later picking up these crosses,” Mainwaring said.

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