Wichita Falls cemetery continues to honor veterans with annual ceremony

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Today, America honors the men and women who lost their lives in service to their country by hosting Memorial Day services.

Crestview Memorial Cemetery in Wichita Falls was founded in the 1940s by a group of local businessmen. Ever since, they have held services honoring fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

Monte Lee, Crestview's Family Services manager said, "Every year because this holiday began as Decoration Day, it's usually the most well attended event at any cemetery anywhere in the country and Wichita Falls is no different."

In a city where the military presence is large, Crestview opened two veteran's gardens for servicemen and women and their families. The gardens were established before the national cemeteries in Dallas and Fort Sill, giving Wichita Falls residents a local place to honor veterans.

The memorial service highlights those born and raised in the city as well. The ceremony takes place at the gravesite of the army officer Lieutenant Thomas Fowler who was killed in action during World War II. He won a medal of honor, the highest military decoration in America.

American Legion Post 169 was named after Fowler. Their post as well as other volunteers came out early in the morning to lay 3,000 flags for all the veterans buried in the cemetery. The Wichita Falls High School Junior ROTC presented the colors.

Commander of American Legion Post 169 Michael Kurtz said, "These events are important simply because it gives us a chance to step back and remember what is important. Freedom isn't free, and these men and women were willing to write that blank check. That's why we're out here today."

The American Legion Auxiliary Secretary Treasurer Jeannine Donaldson said, "This is the one time a year that you get to thank the people that gave their lives for all of us. This is a simple way of doing it."

For those that have served it is heartwarming to see people gather every year to honor those that have fallen. Air Force Veteran and Quarter Master of VFW Post 2147 Marvin Brincefield said, "It feels great seeing them come out – especially the Junior ROTC – seeing them come out and participate."

Next Memorial Day Crestview hopes to have flags put out that represent the birthplace of each veteran buried in the cemetery.

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