Grace plans service for vets

Published 8:46 am Friday, May 17, 2013

Leaders of Grace Lutheran Church and community military veterans will continue a tradition on Sunday that has become a staple each May.

Every year, before Memorial Day, Grace Lutheran Church holds a veterans service and invites the public to attend and honor local heros.

“Veterans in church wanted a way to recognize other veterans in church,” said Lavona Johnson, who is on Grace Lutheran’s worship council. She recalled Wayne Bonnes as an instrumental person in getting the service started. Every year, the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend, Grace Lutheran has continued the tradition. This year’s service will be 10:30 a.m. Sunday, May 19.

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“It’s going to be an informative year,” Johnson added.

Norm Hecimovich has spoken at events in the past and will do so again. Hecimovich, the Austin Veterans Memorial Committee chairman, will explain the significance of military and flag rituals at this year’s service.

“It’s kind of a preparation for Memorial Day,” he said.

Guests who attended the event in the past will feel its significance, as many of the elderly veterans who were honored in previous years are no longer alive. For them, there is prayer, and the symbolism of the flags. They’re not forgotten. After all, the event is about them, and honors more than just Grace Lutheran members.

“It isn’t just a Grace Lutheran Sunday,” Johnson said. “It’s an all-area Sunday.”

The 10:30 service will open with military flags being posted, including POW and MIA flags. Following a brief church service, veterans from each military branch will be honored while their branch’s song is sung. Hecimovich will then explain the history of the POW and MIA flags and the ritual in which they are involved.

Veterans will then fold the American Flag and explain each fold, followed by Taps. The congregation will join in “Let There be Peace on Earth,” to close the ceremony, and veterans will carry out the flags. A light lunch and gathering will be held after the service.

“We would like all the veterans in Austin and surrounding areas to come,” Johnson added.