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Memorial crosses pay tribute to veterans

May 25, 2011

David Bauer, left, watches as St. Marys Servicemen's Burial Detail members Paul Jesberger, center, and detail president Joe Rigard find the location to insert one of the 93 memorial crosses that were put up earlier this week at St. Mary's Catholic Church to honor local veterans killed in the nation's wars. Photo by Victoria Stanish.

Earlier this week, the St. Marys Servicemen’s Burial Detail placed 93 memorial wooden crosses on the side lawn of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in memory of local veterans who died in one of the nation's wars.
An annual event, the crosses were placed on the hillside just below the church. Each bears the name of a community member who lost his life in wartime.
St. Marys resident Grace Jesberger, along to help out the detail in placing the crosses, said the men honored are from a number of religious dominations. Although some of the veterans have been laid to rest in local cemeteries, others were lost at sea, buried elsewhere or listed as Missing in Action.
St. Mary’s Church held the first Memorial Eve Mass in May 1979, with the candle-lighting ceremony and cross memorials beginning in 1986. The current crosses were constructed and erected as part of St. Marys resident David Jesberger’s Eagle Scout project in 2007. He and his fellow scouts in Sacred Heart Troop 95 and members of the burial detail, in cooperation with the Liturgy Committee of the St. Mary’s Church and the Rev. Meinrad Lawson OSB, pastor, collaborated on ensuring that the crosses continue to be placed annually to honor the community's veterans.
During the scout project, lengths of PVC pipe were inserted in the ground and a metal spike placed alongside. Each year, when the crosses are erected, the team putting them up uses a metal detector to locate each slot. The crosses are laid out seven feet apart in all directions.
On Saturday, the annual Memorial Mass Program will be held in conjunction with the 4:30 p.m. Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church. The Mass will conclude with the blessing of the crosses a rifle and "Taps" salute by the burial detail.

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