Dedication of Philip Veterans Living Memorial to be June 15

A white fence and gate surround the grassy field where 32 young medora juniper trees stand in even rows. Twenty-six of those trees are fronted by ground level concrete bases. Each base displays a 10"x16" mahogany colored granite plaque.

Each plaque holds the name, rank and service of a local military service member who has fallen while serving the United States.

Twenty-six have fallen. Twenty-six are remembered.

The memorial is to honor all those local military service personnel who have lost their lives while serving in any branch of the military since the beginning of World War I to the present. Six trees stand ready to honor those who may fall in the future. Hopefully the trees will remain unmarked - forever.

The public dedication of the Philip, S.D., Veterans Living Memorial is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at the site west of the Legion Hall. Relatives of the deceased are to be honored guests and will have reserved seating.

Father Ron Gary and Pastor Mark Ford will open and close the ceremonies. Members of the Philip High School Band will accompany the Porch Quartet in "The Battle Hymn of the Republic". Taps will be played by Tara Ravellette.

Speakers will include the South Dakota American Legion Commander, the S.D. Legion Adjutant Don Boyd, Mayor John Hart, and local Legion members Marvin Denke and Philip Denke.

Hans Hanson, the emcee, hopes that the memorial will keep the memory and sacrifices of the U.S. service personnel alive. "You go by this place almost every day," said Hans Hanson. "Now when a little boy asks, 'What's that, Daddy?,' it can and should be talked about. It should be remembered every day."

A DVD will be made of the ceremony and copies made available. Some donations to defray the cost for the creation and upkeep of the memorial have been received. The First National Bank in Philip and Hanson are prepared to accept on-going donations.

Hanson is the president of the memorial committee, Corky Thorson is vice president, Greg Weber is treasurer, DJ Rush is secretary, and John Kangas and Floyd Bendickson are co-chairs of maintenance.