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Malta church honors Memorial Day with special service

Published: Friday, May 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice will by honored by the Malta United Methodist Church on Monday.

The church and the Malta Memorial Committee will host a Memorial Day service that will include a reading of the Gettysburg Address, along with a speech by former Major General Emile P. Bataille. He retired in 2004 after serving 34 years in the U.S. Army and Reserve Components and will be the guest speaker for this year’s service.

But the service will not end there, as there is a planned march to the Malta Public Library for a ceremony with a presentation of the wreath with Malta Village President Vince McCabe.

A list of veterans from Malta is featured in the Memorial Day bulletin for the service. The list not only features veterans who have died in conflicts from the 21st and 20th century, but those who have died in the Civil War and the War of 1812. Church secretary Jamie Colbert said the information about the veterans who have died is personalized as much as possible. 

Ken Elliot, a retired Army major who is the emcee for the service, said the service remembers not only those who have passed away but those who continue to serve in the military. Even though the church is hosting the service, it’s meant for everyone, he said. 

“It goes beyond just the church congregation,” Elliot said. “It reaches out to the community itself.” 

Colbert said this service brings the meaning of Memorial Day to the forefront.

“I think a lot of people see Memorial Day as a day off work and a day off school,” Colbert said. “… I think people lose the significance of the day.” 

Colbert said she thinks the service is good because it’s taken seriously. There are somber moments, but there also are moments of pride for the soldiers who gave their lives. 

“You see people with tears in their eyes,” Colbert said.

Memorial Day is an emotional day for Colbert, as she and her husband, George, served in the military. They were both in the U.S. Air Force. Colbert served in Operation Southern Watch, which launched in 1992, while her husband served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. 

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If you go What: Memorial Day Service Where: Malta United Methodist Church, 210 E. Sprague St., Malta When: 10 a.m. Monday Information: 815-825-2118

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