Most government and financial institutions are closed this Memorial Day as Katy joins with the rest of the nation in paying tribute to its fallen military heroes.
Locally, members of VFW Post 9182 will hold their annual Memorial Day remembrance ceremony at Katy’s Magnolia Cemetery beginning at 10 a.m.
The ceremony will feature remarks by VFW officials and local dignitaries, as well as the playing of taps by a member of The Texas State Guard, as well as the tolling of the deceased members of Katy’s VFW and American Legion posts who have passed away in the past year.
The public is invited to take part in the ceremony.
There will also be a special public Memorial Day Service today at the Houston VA National Cemetery beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Retired Navy Reserve Captain Richard L. Halferty will give the Memorial Day address.
Halferty served in the United States Navy Reserve for more than 38 years retiring as a Captain in 1986. He currently serves as Chairman, Korean War Veterans, Lone Star Chapter. Among his military awards are the Navy Commendation Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve and the United Nations Medal.
In addition to Halferty’s remarks, the event will feature a parade of colors and wreaths by numerous local veterans’ organizations, ROTC units, and Boy and Girl Scout troops. All Boy and Girl Scout organizations in southeast Texas are invited to attend.
There will also be other symbolic highlights including a flyover by the U.S. Coast Guard; a performance of Taps; a cannon salute; a riderless horse procession by the Houston Police Mounted Patrol; Amazing Grace performed by Ian Martin; and a rifle salute by the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines. Peggy Slay, president of the Houston Gold Star Mothers, will lead the pledge of allegiance.
Memorial Day was first enacted to honor fallen Union and Confederate soldiers following the Civil War. The holiday was expanded after World War I to honor all members of the American military who died in all wars.
The holiday was originally called Decoration Day after the practice of “decorating” Civil War soldiers’ graves. In 1967, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day by federal law.
On Memorial Day, the American Flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.
The half-staff position commemorates the more than one million men and women who have given their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is “raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.”