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A Special Cemetery Ceremony

The Memorial Day service at the Highland Cemetery in Adams returned this year after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. It was a beautiful day in the 60’s and those in attendance were glad for a bit of normalcy. The service began with the procession of the color guards from the VFW, the American Legion, and the Boy Scouts. Following the 21-gun salute and the placing of the flags, Freeman student Summer Buss sang The Star-Spangled Banner. The guest speaker was attorney Robert Schafer from Beatrice, a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard and the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Next the Forest Acres Quilting Club was honored to award two Quilts of Valor to Korean War veterans Junior Lloyd Prange and Don Maas, both of Firth. Club member Velma Lassen began the presentation by giving the audience a bit of history about the Forest Acres Quilting Club and the national organization that is Quilts of Valor. As of May 1st, 2021, 271,408 quilts have been awarded to those touched by war since Catherine Roberts started the national organization in 2003. The first quilts were awarded to veterans who were returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Later the awards were expanded to include veterans from all of the conflicts and wars. Forty-eight quilts have been awarded by the Forest Acres Quilting Club since it was formed in July of 2016.

Junior Lloyd Prange was drafted into the Army in September 1952. While at basic training in Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky he attended a truck driving school. He was then deployed to Fort Lewis Washington and from there was sent to Tokyo Japan. There he received training to remove motors from tanks. After spending time in Tokyo he was sent to Puson Korea and then to Seoul where he served in the Service Battery as a truck driver. Although the Korean Armistice was signed in July of 1953 Lloyd remained in Korea for another 13 months. He then returned stateside and received his discharged attaining the rank of Corporal.

Lloyd’s quilt was from a pattern called Katie’s Quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I thought this pattern would work well for a Quilt of Valor because of the star that is somewhat hidden in the pattern’s design. I was also excited to use some of the scraps in our stash. I stitched an all-over star design on this quilt using red thread to complete the top.

Don Maas volunteered for the draft into the Army in the early 1950’s and received his basic training at Fort Ord California. He was then transferred to Fort Knox Kentucky and received training in tank and truck driving. He was then deployed to Korea and served in an armored tank company on the 38th Parallel. He commanded a group that protected the border to keep the North Korean Army out of South Korea. He ended his military career with a rank of Private First Class.

Don’s quilt was made and donated to the Forest Acres Quilting Club by Karen Gilbreath. She had several pieces of red, white, and blue fabric in her stash and decided to make a scrappy Quilt of Valor. After I quilted it with an all-star design in white thread Karen sewed the binding by hand.

The Memorial Day service concluded with the firing of the Howitzer cannon which dates from the 1850s. This has become a traditional part of each year’s service and, while it is very loud, it is such a moving way to end the service. Thanks to Red Klein and the Adams American Legion for allowing us to be a part of this day.