An audience made up of people of all ages, including veterans, sat under the rows of flagpoles that make up the Clay County Veterans Memorial.
Monday's stiff breeze made the American flag and the banners representing the various branches of the U.S. armed forces snap to attention as Donna Schafer of the VFW Post 3061 Ladies Auxiliary spoke to the audience that gathered to honor the nation's war dead during Memorial Day services sponsored by the Vermillion VFW Clay Post 3061.
Schaffer, a long-time member of the auxiliary, noted that the organization has a rich history of helping veterans and community organizations for the past 75 years.
"When the auxiliary began, there were three goals the women wanted to achieve, and they are still going on to this day," she said. "The first goal was to do hospital work, to help the veterans in that situation, to do relief work among families of any veteran, and the supporting of the national home."
The auxiliary has a long history of raising funds through dues and community projects to meet those goals, Schafer said.
"We also try to promote patriotism in our schools through different ways," she said. "One method is through a patriotic art contest for high school students. We also have two essay contests – the Voice of Democracy for high school students, and the Patriot's Pen for middle school students."
The auxiliary also provides classroom materials and American flags to classrooms in Vermillion, and provides outdoor flags to schools and individuals.
"I am so proud to belong to this organization," Schafer said. "I hope our organization can remain strong in the years to come, so our service to our servicemen and women and veterans can continue, and so that their families can count on our help."
Monday's observance included music by vocal soloist Emily Vandenhul, the reading of General John Logan's Orders, the honor roll call, and the placing of wreaths by members of American Legion Post 1 and its auxiliary, and VFW Post 3061 and its auxiliary.
The service ended with a rifle salute to honor the dead by the VFW Honor Guard, and the playing of Taps.
Following the service, Eagle Scout applicant Will Schaffer and members of Boy Scout Troop 66 conducted a flag retirement ceremony in the parking lot of the Clay County Courthouse.
Log on to spotted.yankton.net to view photos from Monday's services.