Rifle Salute by Legion, VFW Members

The traditional rifle salute was part of the Memorial Day service at the Washington riverfront. This rifle unit is composed of members of  the VFW Post 2661 and American Legion Post 218. Note the shell casings from the firing of the rifles.

Missourian Photo/Bill Miller Sr.

The Washington American Legion Post 218 will host this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony Monday, May 27, at Rennick Riverfront Park. The service will begin at 10 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, which is held to honor deceased veterans, the Washington Brass Band will perform.

The guest speaker will be Lt. Col. William M. Gardner, U.S. Army-Retired, Villa Ridge.

Gardner served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter repair specialist and crew member from 1971 to 1974.

He accepted a commission as a chaplain candidate in September 1983 and served from February 1986 through September 1995 as an active duty chaplain.

Gardner’s ministry included service in the Maine National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.

William “Mike” Gardner retired after 30 years of active and reserve military service in October 2007. He is a veteran of the Vietnam Era, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Gardner’s military awards include a Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, three National Defense Medals, an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Korea Defense Medal, Army Service Ribbon, two overseas ribbons, Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbon and Aircraft Crewman Badge.

During the ceremony, a special tribute will be made to the local veterans who passed away in the past year.

“The public is urged to attend to give tribute to these veterans and all deceased veterans who served our great country,” said John Brinker, American Legion commander.

The ceremony is co-hosted by the Washington VFW, Post 2661.