Three years after the Civil War ended, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order No. 11 on May 5, 1868, after observing families and comrades decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers who died in battle. Recognizing there was honor and healing inherent in this practice of adorning graves with flowers and ribbons, General Logan crafted what has become known as Logan’s Order that established Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day, on May 30 of each year. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

It’s a Procession, Not a Parade

It’s been said a person dies twice. First, his or her physical death; and finally, the last time his or her name is ever uttered Mike Hertaloud. Mike Hert, 58, an Oshkosh man with 35 years of U.S. Army military service, 10 of them active duty in both Cold War Europe and post 9/11 in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa, is earnest about explaining the meaning of Memorial Day. “It’s not set aside as the official start of summer or a three-day weekend up north. In fact, Memorial Day parades are not parades at all, they are meant to be processions where we honor the fallen,” he said.

Hert encourages every family to take a few moments to honor the dead, talk about their sacrifice, and tell children about the meaning of Memorial Day. “Then go have a brat and enjoy your kids and grandkids. Keep in mind that these men and women who died in service to our country never had a chance to have families or grandkids, and we do, because of them. That’s the meaning of Memorial Day – to remember. Don’t forget to stop, remember, and reflect.”

The Gettysburg Address & Gold Star Families

Hert serves as the junior vice commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17 of Oshkosh and Winnebago County. He is a mentor to vets who have a brush with the law and opt to participate in the Outagamie County Veteran’s Court, and he is the organizer and emcee of Neenah’s first Valley VNA Memorial Day Program on Friday, May 27, 2016 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Valley VNA in Neenah.

The Friday event is shaping up to be distinctively powerful, with a reading of Logan’s Order; and a reciting of the Gettysburg Address, widely believed to be the first official proclamation that memorialized American soldiers.

Mary Bosveld, a Valley VNA employee and Gold Star Mother, will be present to honor her daughter, Army Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, who was killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gold Star Spouses and Gold Star Parents have lost immediate family members in combat operations while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lee Shuff, 84, a Menasha area Marine veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam, will speak about the Bible scripture, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He will tell the story of his own friend who was tending to Shuff’s wounds on the battlefield in Korea when he was shot dead by a sniper. Shuff is a retired educator who went to school on the GI bill and is a sought- after speaker for school and community groups.

If You Go:
Memorial Day Program

Friday, May 27, 2016, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Valley VNA, 1535 Lyon Drive in Neenah
Use the main entrance. The program will be indoors, seating is provided.

● Post the Colors by Patriot Guard escorting Mary Bosveld, Gold Star Mother of Army Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and U.S. Veteran Len Erickson
● Invocation & Benediction – Rev. John McFadden, VNA Chaplain
● General Logan’s Order No. 11, read by a 1LT Anthony Pinchk, 2/127th Infantry, Wisconsin Army National Guard
● Gettysburg Address read by Joe Aulick, Director of the Winnebago County Veterans Office
● Main Speaker – Lee Shuff, Korea and Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart recipient
● Laying of the wreath with taps by Neenah High School band student
● God Bless America, led by Christie Feuerstahler, Valley VNA music coordinator
● Conclusion and Reception