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A Momentous Memorial Day

It was a beautiful morning at the Highland Cemetery in Adams on Monday, May 29th, for the annual Memorial Day program that was once again planned by Red Klein and State Senator Myron Dorn. A large crowd gathered to remember fallen veterans and deceased loved ones, as well as honor veterans that are still living. The cemetery was decorated with lots of flags and flowers.

The program began with a parade of flags presented by the Adams American Legion Post 221, the Burrows-DeBoer VFW Post 10042 of Adams, and the local Boy Scout troop. Also included in the program was the Veteran’s Prayer, a 21-gun salute, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of the National Anthem by Freeman High School graduate Matt Ideus. The keynote address was presented by retired Brigadier General Scott Gronewold, originally from Adams, who served several tours of duty overseas as a helicopter pilot. Scott’s speech was followed by the awarding of Quilts of Valor to two veterans who belong to the local VFW post, Dennis Carpenter and Michael Harris. Many thanks to the Boy Scout troop for assisting us in the presentation.

Dennis Carpenter enlisted in the Army in 1966 and received his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He received specialized training in repairing and maintaining communication equipment at Fort Gordon and Fort Benning, both of which are located in Georgia. Dennis spent the next two years in Vietnam and Stuttgard, Germany. He received his discharge in 1969 at Fort Dix, New Jersey and earned the rank of Specialist E-5.

Dennis’s quilt was constructed from a pattern called Generations found in The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts published by Martingale. This quilt features 35 four-point stars scattered across the quilt. I stitched a new all-over flag pattern called Star Spangled All-Over that I found as a free download on the Quilts of Valor website. I used my favorite gold thread to complete the quilt - a 40-weight Omni from Superior Threads called Barley.

Michael Harris recently completed his career in the military after enlisting in the Army in 1994. He received his basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia and then received specialized training in mechanized infantry Bradley fighting vehicles. In addition he received his college degree from Columbus State University in Exercise Science while participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He then retrained as an officer in logistics while stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. After serving in Kuwait and Iraq for six months he was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia. He was then stationed in Hawaii and was deployed twice to Iraq and Afghanistan. He then attended Army Command General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and trained to be a field grade officer. He was then stationed in Bamberg, Germany as well as being deployed to Afghanistan once again. Upon his return stateside he served at Fort Eustis, Virginia and Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois before being deployed for one year to the United States State Department U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He finished his career as a Professor of Military Science at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He was discharged in November 2022 and earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Michael’s quilt was made from a pattern called Stars and Stripes Forever that I found in the June 2021 edition of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. This quilt features fifty 5” blue stars alternating with fifty 5” blocks of alternating red and white stripes. Two borders were added to the original pattern to make the quilt large enough to meet Quilts of Valor standards. I stitched an all-over star design using a beige thread that matched the background fabrics to complete the quilting.

The program concluded with a couple of very special moments. The first was recognition of our community’s WWII flying ace, Don McPherson, who turned 101 years old last week. He was honored over the weekend in Omaha at a parade sponsored by Patriotic Productions where he rode in a jeep used in WWII. The second was the annual firing of the cannon - a thrilling way to end a very meaningful ceremony.

Photo credit: Sharon Harms

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