Dark clouds and cool temperatures may have scuttled plans for a rededication ceremony at Fairfield Cemetery on Monday. But Memorial Day acknowledgements and special recognition to cemetery volunteers were simply moved a couple miles west indoors for the hour-long service.
Still, it had to be somewhat disappointing for volunteers with the Fairfield Cemetery Association, who had worked so hard, to have to bring the event indoors to the Fairfield Community Center in downtown Fairfield instead of at the cemetery itself.
If so, at least one of the event’s organizers said she didn’t feel that way.
“It worked out well doing it this way,” said Micki Harnois, the mayor of Rockford who also took part in the celebration by singing “God Bless America” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” with local Army veteran Bill Benson at the event. “This turned out fine.”
The rainy forecast forced association members to call an audible late last week and move the celebration to the southeast Spokane County’s town’s community center, as parking, cold weather and mud would all have had been issues to have been dealt with over the course of the event, which also featured the presentation of the colors by the Fairfield 4-H club. The American flag had been secured by 5th District Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Prayers were led by Pastor Paul Anderson of the Fairfield Presbyterian and Lutheran Church.
As it turned out, the ceremony went off without a hitch and those in attendance were encouraged to head out to the cemetery – which is located two miles east of town on Truax Road – on their own time to see the 30 small flags donated by the Fairfield Class of 1960.
But while the focus, no question, was on the veterans who have served our country in the armed services, the ceremony had a dual purpose in showing off the hand-forged gates refurbished for $4,600 due to association efforts. The 116-year-old gates, which were renovated by Artistic Metals Forge of Fairfield, will be reinstalled at the entrance of the ceremony, which was first opened in 1885, as soon as weather gets dry enough.
An equipment shed has also gotten a makeover at the cemetery, which contains the remains of 29 veterans including, most recently, Army National Gaurdsman Brant Thieren, who passed away in 2010. One of the oldest plots is the final resting place of Levi Thomas Bell, who had been a private in the Civil War, who died in 1929.