From the soulful sound of Lewis Hagen’s silver trumpet taps to the sight of more than 80 United States flags billowing in the breeze, Memorial Day service participants created a stirring tribute Saturday at Hillsboro’s Memorial Park to fallen soldiers who formerly called Hillsboro home.
Young and old, polished and casual, visitors and hometown heroes gathered to witness the reading of honored and familiar soldier names, and to hear heart-felt words of warning from former Kansas State Rep. and retired U.S. Navy pilot Don Dahl, the keynote speaker.
“Memorial Day is not about glorifying war,” Dahl said. “It is about remembering the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedoms and liberties.
Dahl told listeners that freedom is not free, and what American citizens do not hold on to tightly can be taken away.
“We are at a crossroads in America,” Dahl said. “Our foundations are crumbling … we have forgotten that our liberties are a gift of God.”
Dahl said historic research revealed a pattern that most civilizations followed, from bondage, to struggle, to freedom, to abundance, to apathy, and back to bondage.
“Where do you think we are at in this cycle?” he said. “We have become an apathetic nation. We have taken God out of our schools, out of our courthouses, out of our morals. We have destroyed marriage and family values … We have become a selfish, greedy nation, and it will be our downfall.”
Dahl said a road without God’s guidance was a road to destruction, and one that soldiers honored on Memorial Day would certainly never have taken.
After the ceremony, many patrons waited to speak with Dahl, commending him for what he said.