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American Legion plans busy Memorial Day weekend

MADISON – Madison American Legion, Post 229 has planned a busy schedule for Memorial Day weekend.

On May 26, activities will begin at 9 a.m. with the annual tradition of flag placement on graves of veterans in Madison Memory Garden, Madison City Cemetery and Floral Hills Cemetery. Legionnaires invite anyone to help with placing flags. Volunteers will meet at the north parking lot at Memorial Memory Gardens on Hughes Road, adjacent to City Hall.

Post 229 and its Women’s Auxiliary then will conduct their annual poppy giveaway on May 26-27 at entrances to Walmart at 8650 Madison Blvd., 8580 U.S. 72 and 7140 Wall Triana in Harvest.

“Legionnaires will be present from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 26-27 to hand out red poppies. Donations to the American Legion are welcome,” Post 229 Historian Rich Blanton said.

In 1920, the poppy became American Legion’s official flower to memorialize soldiers who fought and died during World War I. In 1924, distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion. Donations for the poppies support the future of veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs, Blanton said.

The annual Memorial Day Service will be held on May 28 at 10 a.m. at Madison City Veteran Park on Front Street in downtown Madison. Guest speaker will be Command Sergeant-Major, U.S. Army Retired James Ross.

Ross formerly worked with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. He was senior enlisted adviser for the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense.

Ross, a native of Battle Creek, Mich., enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1985 as a combat engineer. In 1990, he reclassified into Air Defense Artillery as a PATRIOT missile crewmember.

During his career, Ross held every leadership position from squad leader to command sergeant major at assignments in Germany; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Saudi Arabia; and Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. He has served overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Qatar.

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