It was a day to honor all veterans, said Devin Gray, commander of General Dwight D. Eisenhower VFW Post 3279.

Gray led a brief ceremony near the War Memorial at Abilene Cemetery in recognition of Memorial Day.

“This monument represents the resting places of many departed comrades who served in all wars,” he said. “Wherever the body of a comrade lies, there the ground is hallowed.”

The Abilene Cemetery contains the graves of soldiers serving in every war except the American Revolution, said Tom White, VFW historian, from War of 1812 through wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two were Medal of Honor winners, he said.

Many veterans of the Civil War are buried in Abilene, including at least two Confederate soldiers, Gray said, and “they’re our veterans, too.”

The VFW Auxiliary presented a wreath at the War Memorial. Three riflemen presented a salute, and Jim Thiel played taps to close the ceremony.

Memorial Day ceremonies were scheduled in locations all around Abilene and Dickinson County on Monday.

American Legion Post 39 laid wreaths, gave a rifle salute and played taps at seven locations around the city, ending with a lunch at the National Guard Armory.

Before the VFW ceremony, the Abilene Municipal Band led by Toby Weishaar gave a concert of patriotic songs and marches at the War Memorial.

Tom Miles, band historian, said the band has been playing Memorial Day concerts since at least before World War II that he knows of. The band itself dates to 1882.

Memorial Day, also called Decoration Day, as a holiday had its start sometime around the time of the Civil War.

Many people visit cemeteries to remember family members and friends, but particularly to honor those who died in military service.

Contact Jean Bowers at reporter2@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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