The VFW Post in Knox will be on watch leading up to Memorial Day, and they’re inviting the public to pay their respects.
Beginning on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., VFW members will hold a short ceremony with invited speaker Major James Pradke giving the keynote address. Starting at Noon, volunteers will stand on watch at the flag for 24 hours as a way to honor fallen service members.
Leslie Baker is a member of the VFW Auxiliary. She says her family has close ties to the Memorial Day holiday, and the watch is a part of that.
“It was something that when we moved back to the area, we wanted to see it be revived,” says Baker. “The first year that the VFW started doing it was in 2013.”
In the past three years, the event has grown, allowing the VFW to promote themselves as active members of the community.
The volunteers on watch change shifts at the flag every half hour. The 24 hour display is followed by a closing ceremony that sees the American flag raised to full staff. Baker says observing the ceremony helps raise public awareness.
“One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say Happy Memorial Day because it’s most certainly not a happy holiday,” says Baker. “The whole purpose is to pay our respects to those who have fallen. I think the community, it’s important, because I think we lose sight of what the holiday is.”
Prior to the watch ceremony, the Auxilliary is hosting a pancake breakfast. Funds raised through the breakfast will be used to support wounded veterans in Northwest Indiana.
Baker says the VFW post started fundraising for the effort after the recommendation of Auxilliary member Jewel Arnett. She says that a check is delivered directly to a veteran that has been interviewed by the VFW as opposed to an organization.