The Southern Illinoisan
May 29, 2012
By Linda Rush
With Carbondale’s connection to the earliest Memorial Day services through Gen. John A. Logan’s order declaring May 30 as a day to honor soldiers, “we have more of an obligation to recognize fully the perils of war,” Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon told a large crowd Monday at the city’s service at historic Woodlawn Cemetery.
Simon said she and her husband, Perry Knop, have been reading audio books as they travel the state, and were moved by a recent biography of Pat Tillman, the NFL player who put his career on hold in 2002 to enlist in the military. Tillman was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan.
The biography, which includes excerpts from the journal Tillman kept, is “a good reminder of the terrible cost of war,” Simon said. She praised Gov. Pat Quinn for his efforts to recognize the ultimate sacrifice, saying he has attended every military funeral in Illinois except three, at which Simon filled in for Quinn.
Recognizing sacrifice isn’t enough, Simon said. “We need to provide support for troops as they serve — and as they return home,” she said.
She also encouraged the large crowd to “act on those freedoms those who served have protected for us. Don’t just read the newspaper; write a letter to the editor — or to a friend” about the issues. “Get engaged and use those freedoms,” she said.
Mayor Joel Fritzler welcomed the crowd to the cemetery, which was draped in flag-theme bunting for the occasion. The Rev. Sidney Logwood, pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church, gave the invocation and benediction. Dr. Dexter Wakefield sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”
David Conrad read General Order No. 11 issued May 5, 1868, by John A. Logan as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a group of civil war veterans. The order set aside May 30, 1868, as a day for decorating the graves of those who died defending their country.
Carbondale’s ceremony included placing wreaths on the graves of the city’s founders, military heroes and to the unknown soldiers who also are buried in the historic cemetery.
Carbondale’s VFW Post 2605, Company C of the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry and the 83rd Chapter of the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club, Little Egypt Chapter, Boy Scout Troop 133, Daniel H. Brush Chapter of the DAR, the American Legion Auxiliary and Illinois National Guard Headquarters Company Z-130 all helped provide the color guard, ceremonial march and salute to the dead.