ALTON - The Annual Alton Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony was once again memorable under the direction of historian/Vietnam veteran Richard Baird on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Alton National Cemetery.

Baird said the sunset ceremony was once again another opportunity to honor those who not only sacrificed their lives, but in countless examples of extraordinary courage enabled all Americans to exercise their freedoms as written in the First Amendment within the Bill Of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

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Baird said the Sunset Memorial Day Ceremony is very special and has continued to grow with participation.

“I am very proud of our youth participation in the event,” he said. “The ambiance of the National Cemetery provides a great setting for the ceremony. Because of the cultural malice that is occurring in America, I think it makes events like this one even more important.”

Alton High School students started the event with a percussion assembly, followed by "Scotland The Brave" performed by the Alton Fire Department Pipes and Drum, then the presentation of colors by the Air Force Junior ROTC of Alton. Marquette Catholic student Nola Effinger sang the National Anthem.

Elijah Baird read the Pledge of Allegiance.

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Adrian Das, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian did the invocation and Richard Baird did the welcome, followed by a greeting by City of Alton Mayor David Goins. Salutations were given by National Cemetery Administration Assistant Director of Jefferson Barracks Darrell Ryan.

Marquette Catholic student Erin Schwartz next performed "America The Beautiful."

Baird provided comments at the ceremony. Alton Middle School band instructor Chris Jarden performed "God Bless America."

The benediction was done by Das and "Echo Taps" was performed by trumpeters Jarden, Charles Prager and Scott Waldrup.

Retiring of Colors was then done by the Alton High School Air Force Junior ROTC.

Alton Fire Department Pipes and Drum closed the event with "Amazing Grace."

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Memorial Day Ceremony at Sunset

Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony 5-28-2013