Rain was on the schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 but the weather remained mild and dry for the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Oakdale Citizens’ Cemetery, which made for a pleasant remembrance for the good-sized attending crowd.
“This is an absolutely wonderful show for the event,” VFW Women’s Auxiliary member Becky Williams said of the healthy turnout. “We don’t usually have this many people come but this is just wonderful to see.”
Although short, the ceremony was packed with patriotic poetry, singing of God Bless America, and even an interesting fact-filled speech given by local historian and retired Naval Chief Petty Officer Glenn Burghardt of Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery.
According to Burghardt, there are 42 identified Civil War veterans, representing both Union and Confederate armies. Burghardt chose to give short histories of nine men who are buried in Oakdale who were pioneers in the areas of farming and agriculture but one in particular was attributed with starting the first official church in Oakdale, called the Oakdale Union Church.
“Each veteran we have in this cemetery has a story aside from the fact that they served. They moved here, liked it and stayed,” Burghardt said.
Retired Oakdale High School music director Ron Quintanal played Taps for the celebration and carried the singing of the patriotic God Bless America.
Army veteran, Tiffany Leijten, was very pleased to see the turnout for the event, saying, “I think everybody should attend. I’m very thankful that people still remember. It’s important to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”
Leijten comes from a family with many connections to the military, with multiple members and generations serving their country.