LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel
June 3, 1902

The Observance of Decoration Day Attended by Many in LeMars.

How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their ballow’d mold,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
The Honor comes a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay.
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit there.

The members of the Mower Post G.A.R. and W.R.C. and the citizens of LeMars paid fitting tribute to the memory of those departed heroes who laid down their lives in the struggle for freedom forty years ago, and their equally heroic comrades who came out of that great conflict, some of the scathless, more of them wounded, maimed, crippled or great injured in bodily health, who have joined the great majority, year by year, as the steady tide of time rolls on.  The ranks of the Grand Army grow thinner and thinner and the heads of the gray haired veterans become whiter and whiter, and their steps feebler as they take their place and march to the graveside of comrades who sleep their last sleep. And as they strew the graves of their fellows with flowers, they eye grows dim, and a pan shoots through the heart as memories revive of many a dear dead comrade who fills an unknown grave on some half forgotten battle ground in the far away south and over whose last resting place no loving hands twin their tribute of loyalty and affection, but their memories are ever hallowed and enshrined in the hearts of those who reap the benefit of the great sacrifices they made, at the altar of patriotism.

In LeMars there was a large attendance at the ceremonies and the procession which filed its way through the main streets of the city to the citadel of the dead on the sunny slope beyond the confines of the town, was an unusually large one.

The procession was formed at the G.A.R. hall on Main street at an early hour, and under the direction of C. H. Jones and his aid de camp, W.S. Freeman, was expeditiously gotten in readiness to start without a hitch.

Headed by the LeMars band the column formed on Main street which was thronged with carriages and the usual order of march was made up:
Mower Post, G.A.R.
LeMars fire department
Flower committee and children in wagons
W.R.C. and G.A.R. carriages
Mayor and City council

The procession moved south on Main street to Third, where several hundred bright-eyed children awaited with impatience their coming and a place was made for them in the procession and the march to the cemetery began.

At the cemetery the services were taken charge of by Acting Post Commander, I. T. Martin, in the absence of Post Commander, Wallace Winslow, who was unable to attend, owing to sickness, and A. A. Alline, chaplain of the post.  Acting Commander Martin recited the ritual of the order and Chaplain Alline read the prayer. The leaders of the W.R.C. corps preceded and followed by waving flags, placed flowers on the broken column, erected in memory of the unknown dead and at the bugle sound of taps, hundreds of beautiful maidens and children dispersed through the grounds and every soldier’s grave was presently adorned with a token symbolical of the highest need of honor. At the close of the ceremony, Miss Jean Elseberry of the public schools, recited a poem written by Mrs. C.A. Hodshire of Quitman, Mo., a sister of Post Commander, Wallace Winslow, in honor of Mower Post. The poem is exceedingly well written and its beauty of language and sentiment lost nothing in its rendition by the elocutionist and moved those present to such an extent that in spite of the solemnity of the occasion, a half suppressed volley of applause followed.

The procession was formed and proceeded to the Catholic cemetery where the same services were rendered to the memory of those whose dust lies there.

The column then formed in marching order and winded its way back to headquarters, where the veterans formed open rank and awaited the slighting of the members of the W.R.C. and other ladies, and then disbanded.

The ladies of Mower Post served dinner to an immense number of guests and the tempting viands prepared by them were heartily appreciated by the soldiers and their many other guests. Supper was served in the evening by the ladies.


~Submitted for posting by volunteer, Linda Ziemann