By now Memorial Day ceremonies of 2013 are in older folks' bagful of memories.
Nowadays it seems there's an odd combination of both more and less interest in Memorial Day. We have so many veterans and active military serving around the world, yet we also have new ways to reading about such activities in the newspaper or on the Internet.
I get a kick out of the old days.
The May 24 Belle Fourche Bee newspaper noted:
Exercises for Memorial Day
"On next Thursday morning (May 30) starting at 10 a.m. public memorial exercises will be held at the Legion Hall..."
The program included a group sing of "America," followed by an invocation, then the Gettysburg Address, patriotic music by the Belle Fourche Municipal Band, an address, Taps and the Star Spangled Banner sung by the audience.
Then came the parade.
"Following the exercises, a line of parade will be formed marching up Sixth Street, and as far south as the Courthouse. From the Courthouse, cars will be provided for all those who desire to attend the exercises at the Pineslope Cemetery. The line of march will be as follows:
"Civil War Veterans
"Spanish War Veterans
The plan was for the firing squad salute, then decoration of graves with American flags.
Then again, Taps.
That's the "old news."
Gov. Dennis Daugaard will convene the South Dakota Legislature for a special session Saturday, June 22, to obtain legislative support to use year-end funds for the new State Veterans Home in Hot Springs.
After the State Engineer opened the bids for the project, according to a governor's office press release, it became apparent that the amount estimated by the architect would not cover the cost of the Veterans Home.
“My priority is to build a durable, quality facility for our veterans – they deserve nothing less,” said Gov. Daugaard in an email to legislators. “I do not believe we can afford to wait until January to take action, because we would lose this construction season.”
A special legislative session is necessary to prevent the state from losing a $23 million federal grant already designated to the Veterans Home.
Gov. Daugaard said he is hopeful the setback will not delay progress on building the new home. As the state approaches the end of the fiscal year, current estimates indicate tax revenues will be $7-10 million higher and expenses $7-10 million lower than expected, leaving $14-20 million.