RIPON — The ceremonial placing of the Memorial Wreath was the joint honor of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion at Monday morning’s Memorial Day recognition at the Ripon Cemetery.
VFW Commander John Franscella and American Legion Commander Ken Lawson were assigned to the honors with a large crowd showing its respect at the annual event where small American Flags dotted the lawn over the grave sites of Ripon veterans.
Ripon lost one of its own, Clinton McCausland, in November of 1918, fighting with the U.S. Army in the First World War. The American Legion Post 190 was named in his honor.
World War II took the lives of another 16 Ripon men between 1942 and 1945. Those who died serving their country with the U.S. Army were Raymond C. Clifton, William “Billy” Haller, Radomir “Rad” Kolak, Oscar “Auke” Poelstra, John “Jack” Harp, Henry Bouma, Jr., Wayne M. Coe, John Kenneth Smit, Harmon H. Tornga, and Carl Peterson. One Marine honored on the list was John Camps who was killed in December of 1943.
Ripon men who died serving in the U.S. Navy were Paul Madsen, James Harding Haller, Lyman J. Fulton, Viggo Verne Peterson and John Van Andel.
The Korean Conflict accounted for one more to be killed in action in 1951, Arthur Devere Freshour, Jr.
Two other Ripon men died in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968 – one with the U.S. Army and the other with the Marine Corps. They were Gary Leon Van Tol and George Coutrakis.
Eighteen years later in 2006 another member of the U.S. Army from Ripon was killed in action. That was Joseph W. Perry.
The Presentation of the Colors opened Monday’s ceremonies with the Ripon Veterans and JROTC Color Guard and the Ripon JROTC Saber Drill Team marching together. The drummer was Linda McGaughey and bagpiper was Phil McGill.
American legion Post Chaplain William F. Hunter offered the invocation. The welcome and introduction of guests was made by Mayor Elden “Red” Nutt and John Freeman, representing Assemblyman Bill Berryhill. Mayor Nutt also gave a report on the Ripon Veterans Wall.
The Memorial Day address was made by U.S. Army Sergeant and JROTC instructor at Ripon High Butch Perry who, along with Melissa Perry, conducted the Memorial Bell Ceremony.