Wednesday, May 28, 2014
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Mount Pulaski celebrates Memorial Day with two special events

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[May 28, 2014]  MOUNT PULASKI - Miss Madison Haley was keynote speaker at both Mount Pulaski Memorial Day Services: Mount Pulaski Cemetery and Steenbergen Cemetery. Her essay won 1st place at the National Veterans of Foreign War’s annual Voice of Democracy Competition in Washington D.C. this past March, 2014.

The award to her was $30,000 in addition to the weekend all-expense paid trip for her and her parents. Madison also won additional cash awards at VFW Illinois Department, VFW District 10 and local Mount Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777.

Former and now deceased long-time CBS journalist, Charles Kuralt, won the very initial VFW Voice of Democracy competition in 1948. Madison read her essay: “Why I’m Optimistic about Our Nation’s Future”, receiving a long-deserved standing ovation. Her essay may be read simply by typing into Google with this wording: “Madison Haley VFW 2014 Winner”.

Winning essays were also read by Mount Pulaski Grade and High School students, Emma Schoth, and Andrew Moody: “What Memorial Day Means to Me”, which is annually sponsored by the Mount Pulaski SAL Squadron 447.

Several Mount Pulaski High school students were recognized for their selection to the annual American Legion Girls and Boys State summer conventions. President Bill Clinton was once a Boy State attendee in the State of Arkansas; and then was selected by his peers to represent his state at the annual Washington D. C. American Legion Boy’s State Nation Convention, where he met and shook hands with then President John F. Kennedy.

The various Mount Pulaski military veterans, civic, and volunteer organizations laid wreaths at the base of the Mount Pulaski Veteran’s Memorial, high on the knoll at the south-east side of the cemetery.

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Also in uniformed-attendance: Mount Pulaski Boys, Girls and Cubs Scout organizations, Mount Pulaski Phoenix Fire Department, Mount Pulaski EMS, Mount Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777, Mount Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447 and Mount Pulaski SAL Squadron 447.

The Mount Pulaski Grade and High School combined band provided patriotic music and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Reverend Mark Weber of Mount Pulaski First Christian Church gave a well-received Invocation and Benediction.

Master of Ceremonies was former Mount Pulaski American Legion Post 447 Commander, Bob McCue, who also gave commands to the American Legion and VFW veteran’s and SAL Honor Guard, which fired a 3-round salute.

Bugler Alan Roos trumpeted out taps. The service was well-attended by an enthusiastic mixture of veterans and their families and descendants, friends and classmates of veterans and of those who made the supreme sacrifice, and by other very patriotic locals — young and old.

[Text received; PHIL BERTONI]

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