Memorial Day activities scheduled to take place in area communities

Memorial Day - May 29, 2023

Parade Grand Marshal Loretta Roese ... Since 2008, Loretta Roese of Waukon has been leading her Arabian horse, Karabay, through the Memorial Day Parades in Waukon in a “riderless horse” symbolic honoring of all the fallen soldiers who have given their lives in service to their country. With the passing of Karabay earlier this spring, Roese will now be serving as this year’s Grand Marshal for the 2023 Memorial Day Parade scheduled for Monday, May 29 in Waukon, in honor of Karabay and their parade contributions together over the past 14 years.

A variety of Memorial Day activities are being planned for the upcoming holiday weekend, including all the traditional Memorial Day observances this year scheduled for Monday, May 29 in all of the area communities within Allamakee County. Those traditions of parades, full cemetery programs and wreath laying are being planned in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country, with details of some of those celebrations being outlined below on this page in their respective highlighted boxes.

A tentative featured highlight of all the area Memorial Day Observances this year may be the flying over of a CH-47F Chinook helicopter aircraft from B Company 1-171 Aviation Regiment of the Iowa Army National Guard Aircrew based in Davenport. The helicopter fly-over is planned to coincide as much as possible with the area’s Memorial Day Observance Programs taking place Monday morning, May 29, beginning with the Waukon observance program at approximately 10:15 a.m. and then continuing on to fly over the communities of Harpers Ferry, Lansing and New Albin. That planned flight will depend upon weather and other administrative considerations.

This is the first year that the Iowa National Guard has conducted a fly-over of this nature. The Chinook helicopter aircraft will fly over the communities at a low altitude, so residents may hear the engine and propellers roar as the aircraft passes over these communities.

“The Iowa National Guard has a proud tradition of honoring our heroes,” shared Captain Kevin Waldron, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army Iowa National Guard. “Performing a military fly-over is a small way to remember those who served and gave us our freedoms.”

The 2023 Memorial Day Observance Program in Waukon is once again being planned to take place at its traditional setting at Oakland Cemetery in Waukon. That program is scheduled to commence at approximately 10 a.m. following the traditional parade that lines up at 9:15 a.m. and begins at 9:45 a.m. in front of the Allamakee County Courthouse and marches its way to the cemetery. In the event of rain, the parade will not be held and the observance program will, instead, be held inside the Waukon Banquet Center at approximately 10 a.m.

Volunteers will be needed to help set up the Avenue of Flags Saturday, May 27, beginning at 8 a.m. Those efforts will begin at the Allamakee County Courthouse in Waukon. Any changes in plans regarding the parade, observance ceremony or Avenue of Flags will be announced on local radio stations.

Anyone seeking more information on the Memorial Day Observance Program in Waukon should contact Heather Homewood at the Allamakee County Veterans Services Office at 563-568-6135.

Serving as the Grand Marshal for this year’s Memorial Day Parade in Waukon will be Loretta Roese. She has led her Arabian horse, Karabay, in the Memorial Day Parade at Waukon every year the parade was able to be held since 2008, walking alongside him in a “riderless horse” display of honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving their country in the U.S. military.

Roese was looking forward to a 15th year of providing such an honoring in next week’s scheduled parade, but unfortunately, Karabay unexpectedly passed away in March of this year. In honor of Karabay’s passing and the contributions that he and Roese have made to the parade over the past 14 years, Allamakee County Veterans Affairs Director Heather Homewood felt it only fitting that Roese serve as the Grand Marshal for this year’s parade.

“We felt it was appropriate to recognize Loretta’s efforts and honor her horse that, unfortunately, passed away,” Homewood said. “We appreciate all she’s done to honor those who have served, and we’re sorry they both won’t be joining us again this year.”

Roese said she first saw the “riderless horse” - also referred to as a caparisoned horse, due to its “decorated” appearance - when she was in school and viewed the funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy. She said she was very moved by that display, and it always stuck with her until she finally decided to give it a try in the 2008 Waukon Memorial Day Parade.

Furthering Roese’s desire to honor those who served is a long family affiliation with military service. Her husband, the late Ron Roese, served in Vietnam and Ron’s father was killed in World War II. Her brother also served in the military.

Helping her in that honoring of her family was a horse that was also very much part of the family. Karabay was approaching his 26th birthday at the time of his passing earlier this spring, and he was born and raised on the Roeses’ farm. He was one of Loretta’s favorites to ride on trail rides, both locally and on rides out west.

“It was truly a blessing to have a horse like Karabay, and I am very happy and fortunate to have been able to do something like this with him over the past 14 years,” Roese said. “It was something that I never felt I ‘had to’ do; I just truly enjoyed it.”

In addition to the personal touch of teaming with a horse she raised from birth, Roese added further meaning to their honoring display by creating the entire costume that draped over Karabay from head to toe. “I didn’t have a pattern to follow, but I got some help from Arlington National Cemetery and the Veterans Affairs Office and followed the description to create my own draping,” Roese said.

The riderless horse comes from the practice of having the horse of a deceased military officer led in a funeral procession which, itself, is derived from the ancient custom of sacrificing a horse at the burial of a warrior, further symbolizing the fact that the fallen warrior would ride no more. Horses are no longer sacrificed in such cases, but sometimes a riderless horse is still led in the funeral procession as a symbol of a fallen warrior.

In the United States, the caparisoned horse is part of the military honors given to an Army or Marine Corps officer who was a colonel or above: this includes the President of the United States by virtue of having been the nation’s military commander in chief, and the Secretary of Defense, having overseen the armed forces.

Equipment for a caparisoned horse is different according to the horse’s color: if black, the horse need carry only a saddle blanket, saddle and bridle; if any other color the horse is covered with a black hood and cape, along with a blanket, saddle and bridle.

According to the Military District of Washington, the cape buttons in front of the left leg with four buttons. It has a crupper that fits under the horses tail to hold it secure. The cape is bordered with fringe three inches in length and hanging to the horse’s hock. The hood covers the head, going back as far as the withers. It has eye slots and extends down to the edge of the mouth. It covers the ears and the ear pieces are fringed. The saddle blanket extends from the withers to the flank. There is a white border one and one-half inches in width encircling the blanket.

Stars are placed on the rear corners of the blanket with the number indicating the rank. A pair of spurred boots is placed backwards in the stirrups and the tops are fastened to the stirrup straps. The bridle is a snaffle with a French halter. It is worn in the regular manner with one rein secured to the pommel of the saddle. The horse is led from the near side.

Memorial Day Observance in Waukon - Monday, May 29
• Memorial Day Parade will line up at 9:15 a.m. and begins at 9:45 a.m. in front of Allamakee County Courthouse on Allamakee Street and travels south down Rossville Road to Oakland Cemetery (weather permitting)
• Memorial Day Observance Program follows parade, approximately 10 a.m. at Oakland Cemetery (at Waukon Banquet Center in the event of rain):
    • Invocation: Cathy Jurgens - Zion United Church of Christ
    • National Anthem: Bailey Sherman and Annie Ellingson
    • Pledge of Allegiance: Children volunteers
    • General Logan’s Orders: Jacob Smith
    • Music Selections: Waukon High School Band
    • Memorial Wreath Laying: Knightley, Natalie & Catherine Rich and Maura Jones, Legion & VFW Auxiliaries
    • POW/MIA Recognition - Moment of Silence
    • Mrs. Poppy: Lisa Hagen
    • Miss Poppy: Katherine and Hannah Hagen
    • God Bless America: Waukon High School Band
    • Gettysburg Address: Ella Homewood
    • Quilts of Valor Presentation: Waukon Patriot Quilters
    • Duty, Poem by Charles Weipert - read by Kristin Kozelka
    • American Legion Certificates: John Troendle, Am. Legion Post 62
    • Music Selections: Waukon High School Band
    • Veteran Museum Presentation: John Bauercamper, Historical Society
    • Grand Marshal Recognition: Loretta Roese
    • PROGRAM ADDRESS: Olivia Marti, Waukon High School
        Voice of Democracy Essay winner
    • Rifle Salute    Veterans Rifle Squad Honor Guard
    • Taps    Jean Schon, SSGT. U.S. Army, Retired
    • Announcements and Closing Remarks
    • Benediction: Cathy Jurgens - Zion United Church of Christ
• Master of Ceremonies: Abraham Barr, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran
• Honor Guard: VFW Post 4117 and American Legion Post 62

Lansing Memorial Day Observance - Monday, May 29
WEXFORD: 7:30 a.m. Legion and VFW Cemetery Service
GETHSEMANE: 8:15 a.m. Legion and VFW Cemetery Service
THORNTON MANOR: 8:30 a.m. Flag raising by Legion and VFW
MOUNT HOSMER: 9 a.m. Flag raising by Legion and VFW
SWEENEY'S BOAT LANDING: 10 a.m. Navy Remembrance - Firing Squad
PARADE: 10:15 a.m. All active, reserve and former servicemen and women are invited to participate in the parade forming at the corner of Main and Front Streets at the Lansing Fire Station
OAK HILL CEMETERY: 11 a.m. The following Memorial Day program will be held immediately upon arrival of the parade at Oak Hill Cemetery
Opening Remarks: Mayor Melissa Hammell
Music Selections: Kee High School Band
Invocation: Pastor James Buckhahn
Gettysburg Address: Cadan Evanson
"In Flanders Field": Riley Troendle
Roll Call: CMSgt. Cheryl Garin, USAF Ret.
Memorial Day Address: Sgt. Jason Hines, USMC Ret.
Firing Squad: Legion and VFW
TAPS: Austin St. Mary and Marley Gramlich
Benediction: Pastor James Buckhahn
If raining, program will be held at Kee High School at 11 a.m.
COMMITTEES: Flags at Lansing Cemeteries: Allen Stahl; Flags on Mt. Hosmer: Dick Roeder, John O’Hare; Wexford Cemetery: Ray Wagner; Music: Kee High School Band Director Liz Bahr

Harpers Ferry/Waterville Memorial Day Observance - Monday, May 29
The annual Harpers Ferry/Waterville Memorial Day Parade and Program are scheduled for Monday, May 29, with Harpers Ferry Scenic Post #722 American Legion and Auxiliary hosting the event in Harpers Ferry. Legion and Auxiliary members will conduct services at area cemeteries again this year, according to the following schedule: Old East Paint Creek, 7:15 a.m.; Waterville, 7:45 a.m.; Cherry Mound, 8 a.m.; Paint Rock, 8:15 a.m.; Cota Creek Bridge, 8:30 a.m.; and Harpers Ferry Sandy Point Cemetery, 8:40 a.m.

A Memorial Day Ecumenical Church Service will take place at St. Ann-St. Joseph Church in Harpers Ferry, with everyone welcome to attend at 9 a.m. The parade will begin after the service, approximately 10 a.m., with line-up for the parade beginning at 8:30 a.m. Transportation will be provided for those unable to march. For more information or to make a reservation to enter a float in the parade, contact Cyndi Luster at 608-520-2983 or Karis Walker at 608-415-3162.

The starting point of the parade will be at the church and it will proceed to the Veterans Memorial, where the Memorial Day Program will be conducted, including the laying of wreaths by the Ladies Auxiliary for each young man from Harpers Ferry and the area who has lost his life in war. The Waukon Middle School Band will provide patriotic music for the event and Tamar Walleser and Hannah Walleser will lead the entire crowd in a community singing of “ The Star Spangled Banner”. Rose Benda, Girls State Citizen for 2023, will ride in the parade and read a patriotic poem.

Also part of the program will be contributions by American Legion Auxiliary President Gloria Payne, American Legion Scenic Unit #722 Commander Bob Sturch and Chaplain Dan Conway, a 21-gun salute by the men of American Legion Scenic Unit #722, and Taps played by Russell Hagen of Waterville and echoed by Waukon Middle School Band Director Tim Lund. George and Jeanne Delaney of Harpers Ferry will serve as King and Queen of the parade this year. Sam Fox will serve as Parade Grand Marshal.

New Albin Memorial Day Observance - Monday, May 29 - 9 a.m.
The Memorial Day Observance taking place Monday, May 29 in New Albin will begin at the New Albin Community Center at 9 a.m. The following program will take place:
Invocation: Pastor Tommy Case
Welcome: Commander Ralph Nelson
Music Selections: Kee Middle School Band
Gettysburg Address: John Colsch
Music Selections: Kee Middle School Band
Introduction to Local Veterans Story: Allen Meiners
Story of WWII Veteran Bud Maust, Jr.: Gary Thomas
Roll Call of KIA: Leland Moore
Benediction: Pastor Tommy Case
Announcements: Commander Ralph Nelson

Refreshments will be served at the program by the VFW Auxiliary. Volley and Taps will follow, first at the Veterans Memorial City Park in New Albin and then at the City Cemetery in New Albin.