By ERIN SANSON
Throughout the country, families and friends gathered over the weekend to celebrate. Some with picnics and parties, others in quiet reflection. Many may have celebrated the unofficial beginning of summer, while others celebrated the lives and memories of those that lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military.
Carlinville, like many towns and cities, held a Memorial Day service over the long weekend. The American Legion Guy Baird Post #554 hosted Carlinville’s ceremony with post commander Larry Kaburick leading the ceremony. The Carlinville Municipal Band performed at the ceremony in their first concert of the season.
The memorial address was given by Sergeant Major Douglas E. Gardener, an officer in the Marine Corps. Gardener recalled how he was once a percussionist in the Carlinville Municipal Band, playing at the Memorial Day ceremony years before.
Sergeant Major Gardner enlisted in the Marine Corps in August of 2000 and completed his training in San Diego in September of 2001. He took part in several overseas operations throughout the 2000s and held several positions in Criminal Investigation divisions throughout his military career.
Gardner was frocked to his current rank in November of 2021 and in December was assigned duties as the Battalion Sergeant Major. Awards he has received are the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars in lieu of the fourth award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award with three gold stars in lieu of the fourth award and the Army Achievement Medal.
Afterwards, Kaburick read the roll call of deceased veterans, while the Cub Scout Pack #65 placed flags in their honor. Taps was then played and the American Legion Firing Squad was given the command to fire off the 21 gun salute.
Bill Link, as a Son of the American Legion, offered both the Invocation and the Benediction during the ceremony. The American Legion Color Guard posted and retrieved the Colors during the ceremony.
The Carlinville Municipal Band played a short selection of songs before the program, which continued after the program. The band closed the program by playing America the Beautiful, arranged by Samuel A. Ward, with lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, first published in 1910.