Roland, Story City prepare for Memorial Day ceremonies

Staff Writer
Story City Herald
Gary Carpenter (left) and Jerry Christian raise the flag. Contributed photo

Randall/Story City

The Story City American Legion Post #59 will meet at the Legion hall at 8 a.m. and will conduct Memorial Day servcies at the Randall Cemetery beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 28. Services in Story City will follow with flag raising services at Timberland Village (9:30 a.m.), the American Legion (10 a.m.) and Bethany Manor (10:30 a.m.).

The Story City Memorial Day Parade will begin following services at Bethany Manor, where the Legion Color Guard will lead the processional up Lafayette Avenue to Broad Street, turning east to Grand Avenue, then north to the Story City Municipal Cemetery. Included in the parade will be the Roland-Story High School Marching Band, and the local Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. There will also be a shuttle provided for veterans beginning at the Legion hall, as well as at Bethany Manor, progressing along the parade route to the cemetery.

Following the parade, memorial services will be held at the cemetery at approximately 11 a.m. A salute and tribute will be excecuted by the Story City American Legion Color Guard, firing squad and various veterans. Roland-Story Middle School student Ally Ringsby will recite the Gettysburg Address.

Lunch will be served at the Story City American Legion following the service for veterans, Legion members and parade participants.


Driving E-18 to the east as you come into Roland, you'll notice a cemetery on the south side of the road full of American flags. Every year, just before Memorial Day, these flags pop-up like the spring flowers letting everyone know the small town of Roland will once again be hosting its Memorial Day ceremony. A small, but dedicated, crew from Roland's American Legion Post 307 and the Sons of the Legion erected the poles and raised the flags to honor veterans of past buried in the cemetery. The larger flags around the outside of the cemetery are casket flags that once covered the caskets of veterans during their funerals.

“This is something Post 307 does to try to remind people of why we have Memorial Day, which is to honor veterans who served our country and are now gone,” said Gary Carpenter, the Post 307 Commander.

The flags are just one part of Post 307's efforts to bring Roland together to honor fallen veterans. On Memorial Day, Monday, May 28, the Legion will host a parade at 10 a.m. starting downtown on Main St and then turning on to Maples Street, finally stopping in front of the bridge by the city pool. The Roland Middle School provides the marching music during the parade. At the bridge, a short ceremony will be performed where a wreath is tossed into the creek to honor those who gave their life at sea during conflicts.

Please note this update that changed since publication of the Herald's print edition: Due to gnats and heat, the program normally at the cemetery will be moved to the Roland Middle School. The parade from Main Street to the Bear Creek Bridge on E18 will continue as planned.

The speaker for this year's ceremony at the cemetery is Jarrod Johnson, a native of Roland who served as an infantryman, scout-sniper, and scout-sniper instructor in the Marine Corps. After leaving active duty he earned Masters of Divinity degree and re-entered active duty as a Navy Chaplain where he served on multiple deployments aboard US Navy ships and as battalion chaplain at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. He then transferred into the Marine and Navy Reserves supporting local units and performing military funeral honors for veterans across the state of Iowa. He recently published a devotional for Marine recruits titled Faith and Fortitude.

“Beyond having great speakers, an important aspect of our Memorial Day Ceremony is the part that students from the Roland-Story Middle School and High School play,” said Jerry Christian, a Post 307 Past-Commander. “The Roland-Story Middle School band provides the music and selected students are also important speakers during the ceremony.”

During this year's ceremony, Jillian Concannon will recite the Gettysburg Address, Emma Auld will present the poem “In Flanders Fields” and Nick Stole will recite “America's Response.” After the 21-gun salute, the very moving Taps will be performed by Macy Friest and Samantha Elsberry. Even the city of Roland will help out with the ceremony by providing traffic control assistance during the parade and ceremony.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit on during the ceremony. Your attendance will honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Gary Carpenter points out, “Memorial Day is about service. We hope that through the efforts of Post 307 we can inspire citizens to serve, whether that service is as a part of the military, in our local volunteer fire and EMS departments, or by being active members in civic clubs like the American Legion.”

The Memorial Day ceremony is followed by a luncheon at the Roland Salem Church from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dinner includes beefburgers, beans, chips, pie and drink. Free-will donations will be accepted, and carryouts will be availble. Everyone is invited.

Gettysburg Address contest

On Friday, May 4, seventh- and eighth-graders at Roland-Story Middle School participated in the annual Gettysburg Address reciting competition.

Contestants were Jillian Concannon, Reece Johnson, Rebekah Stobl, Jacob Hennager, Ally Ringsby, Nathan Limas and Kristian Warnick.

Concannon and Ringsby won the contest and, as a result, will be reciting the address during the Memorial Day celebrations in Roland and Story City, respectively.