A sizable crowd gathered at Neosho's IOOF Cemetery and Stella's Veterans' Memorial on Monday to observe two Memorial Day services.

A sizable crowd gathered at Neosho's IOOF Cemetery and Stella's Veterans' Memorial on Monday to observe two Memorial Day services.

Neosho
At the 9 a.m. service in Neosho, the day started off with the placing of three wreaths near the a memorial marker. Then, American Legion Post 163 commander Rev. Bill Doubek started off the ceremony.
"I want to share you a  personal story," he said. "Growing up, I grew up in a small community in Northeastern Iowa, and when I went downtown, I saw the American Legion Post there, it was Karl Giesen Legion Post in Iowa. Now, that doesn't mean much to anybody here, but Karl was my great uncle, he was a 19 years old onboard the U.S.S. Arizona and he is still onboard the Arizona. Ten years before I was born, his life was taken in that horrible attack (Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor). This day is something special to me, my family and when I see all of you, I am just - my heart is just swelling with joy. I thank you again from the bottom of my heart."
Neosho's keynote speaker was Rep. Bill Reiboldt.
"I am happy that you are here, and that means a lot to me... because you are here because you want to be," said Reiboldt. "You are here because you understand what this day - Memorial Day - is all about. I hope that many young people will come... they need to understand the history and the cost, price of what so many have our fellow Americans pay that we might have a barbecue or play golf. The price tag for freedom and liberty is very high. John Adams once said, 'you will never know how much it cost - the present generation to preserve your freedom.' Speaking to a younger group (Adams said), 'I hope you make use of it.'"
Reiboldt talked about some of his friends and associates who served in the armed forces.
"To the north of us, I have a friend we will call him 'Kyle,' and he served in the Coast Guard," he said. "I was able to listen to some of his stories about World War II, guarding the coastlines. You know, America during World War II was never attached, but there were several plots to do so. I appreciate the Coast Guard..."
Reiboldt talked about four points.
"When I think of Memorial Day, honoring them, I think of several things," he said. "No. 1 is pride, No. 2 sacrifice, No. 3 appreciation, No. 4 hope. I think of how proud I am to be an American. How proud I have always been and I cherish the fact that I am an American. We have the greatest country this world has ever known. Our people are so good. and we are honorable people. and we should be proud of that. I am proud of every time I see the flag or song 'God Bless America' or 'National Anthem' that instills pride in me. I am so thankful for the sacrifice... we appreciate the fact that they were willing to give their life, put their life on the line. Hope for the future. We live in a troubled time and I hope that none of the young people would have to go off to war, would have to experience that.
In conclusion, Reiboldt added.
"We pray that we will be able to live in a land where we can enjoy freedom and we can enjoy liberty," he said. "To those in uniform who are serving today - especially those in arms way - we want you to know that you are in our prayers, we appreciate you. For those who served in the past, we honor your service. And every day, we honor those who have served, and who will serve in the future that this land might truly be a land of peace and prosperity..."

Stella
Situated at the Veterans' Memorial where countless bricks of fallen soldiers' names and their branch of service, Col. Mark Bartley, Ret., was the keynote speaker.
"(Memorial Day) is to memorialize the fallen that have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we have the freedoms that we have today," Bartley said. "It is moving every time I come to these ceremonies that how people are so dedicated memorializing those who have fallen, but the family members as well. I come from a long lineage of military affiliation. My great, great grandfather and his brother enlisted in the 3rd Missouri Cavalry of Rolla, Mo., during the Civil War. My grandfather  was a private in World War I, my father, Korea and two tours in Vietnam. My brother, retired 20 years, I currently have a son-in-law that is in the Air Force in Japan, I have a nephew in the Navy."
Bartley concluded, "there are 323 million U.S. citizens, there is only bout 2 millionish that actually serve, that is only 1 percent that protect our freedoms."
The Neosho High School's AFJROTC - who was present at both ceremonies - presented the POW presentation and the raising of the flag.