The Washington VFW Post 2661 will host this year’s Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 28, beginning with the Washington Brass Band performing at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Riverfront.

The guest speaker is U.S. Army Col. Walt Hatcher (Retired).

Hatcher was born in Carthage and educated in Oklahoma and Arkansas. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1955 with a business administration degree and a Reserve Officer Training Corps commission as a second lieutenant, field artillery.

Following completion of the officer basic course at Fort Sill, Okla., he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in the territory of Hawaii. He transferred to the adjutant general’s corps in 1958.

Of his 30 years of service in the U.S. Army, more than 15 years were overseas, including Germany, Vietnam and Korea.

His career has been characterized by a wide variety of assignments from battery, division and corps to Department of the Army level.

Some of his key assignments have included adjutant general, 3rd Armored Division (Germany), V11 Corps adjutant general (Germany), deputy commander and commander U.S. Army Reserve Components Personnel and Administration Center (St. Louis), and service in the Office of the Army Chief of Staff (Washington, D.C.).

Military training has included airborne school at Fort Benning, Ga., adjutant general advanced course, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., the Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Ala., and the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

His awards and decorations include five Legions of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and three Army Commendation Medals. He also is a senior parachutist.

After his retirement from the military, in July 1986, Hatcher and his wife Marian moved to Italy for nine months. The couple returned to America and Washington in May 1987.

Hatcher currently serves as chairman of Washington’s Sister City Committee with Marbach am Neckar, Germany and has served on the Washington Historic Preservation Committee.


The Memorial Day ceremony, which is co-hosted by the Washington American Legion, Post 218, will include opening remarks by Terry Sullentrup, VFW commander.

Mayor Sandy Lucy will speak and military personnel in the audience will be recognized by Dave Anderson, commander of the Legion.

A remembrance of fallen members this past year and a bell-ringing ceremony will follow.

A wreath will be placed in the river to honor fallen comrades, Sullentrup said, followed by a rifle salute and taps, played by Don Hahne and Terry Lanwermeyer of the Washington Brass Band.

A flag review by the Washington Boat Club and a prayer will close the ceremony.

“We certainly want to invite the community to come and participate in the program,” Sullentrup said. “It is a very fitting tribute to our fallen comrades who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country.”