A staple event of Memorial Day is a ceremony remembering those who died while serving the U.S. military. This was no different this year. Pastor Cory Van Sloten, of Lebanon Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa, and Pastor Jordan Helming of First CRC, of Orange City, Iowa, felt it was important to take time to remember, even if the typical crowds of people could not be present. (Large gatherings continue to be avoided to prevent possible spread of the coronavirus, currently a global pandemic.)
Van Sloten and Helming are veterans and currently serve in the military. Each is a member of the Sioux Center Legion, where Van Sloten serves as commander and Helming serves as an administrative officer. Each is a chaplain as well.
Pastor Helming reflected on the ceremony, saying that if veterans do not remind people of the sacrifice made “no one will.”
“Those fighting for freedom do not stop for anything, and so the prospect of canceling our Memorial Day civic observance seemed improper,” said Helming. “We also think of the family members who carry the burden of Memorial Day every day … so the least we can do is carry some of the weight with them, and let them know that we are grateful and there to support them.”
The service took place at Memory Gardens in Sioux Center. A recording of the national anthem by the United States Military Academy Cadet Glee Club was played. Pastor Helming gave a short talk focusing on some of the stories of the local men that served in various wars. He noted they represented just a small fraction of the 1.2 million men and women who have died in military service in wars fought by the U.S., and he highlighted some of the family members who remained home and yet had to sacrifice as well.
The service was broadcast on KSOU radio and also on the Sioux Center News Facebook page.
“Memorial Day is important for us not only as citizens of the United States of America and service members, but also as Christians,” said Van Slotten. “We were grateful to facilitate and participate in this observance and trust that our communities were grateful for it as well.”