Memorial Day Services ‘Welcome Home Veterans’

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The 2012 Memorial Day services in Payson will revolve around the theme, Welcome Home Veterans, and feature four different programs and separate venues.

Everyone in the Rim Country – residents and visitors alike – is invited to participate in any or all of the services.

There are two services on Sunday, May 27 and two on Monday, May 28.

The annual Pioneer Cemetery tribute begins with a flag-raising ceremony at 8:30 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Presented by the Payson Woman’s Club, which owns and operates the cemetery, the program will include music by Don Gibson and a speaker, according to Pat Cline, president of the Woman’s Club.

“We’re having it at 8:30 in the morning instead of 9:30, so everyone can go to the ceremony at the other cemetery,” Cline said.

The Payson Pioneer Cemetery is at the corner of South Vista Road and West Mesa Drive, to the north of the Payson Golf Course. Cline said more than 200 veterans are buried in the cemetery, which became the final resting place of Rim Country residents in the early 1880s.

The annual Mountain Meadows Memorial Park tribute is at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 27. Mountain Meadows is in Round Valley, south of Payson. To reach Mountain Meadows Memorial Park take Hwy. 87 south to Gibson Ranch Road where you will take a left (crossing the north bound lanes of the Beeline), go east on Gibson Ranch Road to Lower Round Valley Road, where you will take a right and then follow the road to the cemetery.

The service will include: a welcome by Mark Waldrop and Ken Messinger of Messinger’s Payson Funeral Home; flag raising by the Payson Military Honor Guard; a prayer by Pastor Lynn Richie; special remarks by retired United States Marine Corps Maj. Phil Prince; and the playing of Taps.

The ceremonies Monday, May 28 include a flag raising ceremony at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino flagpole at 8 a.m. and the community service at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial at Green Valley Park.

The Green Valley Park program is sponsored by the Payson Patriotic Events Committee and will include patriotic music; the presentation of colors; addresses by Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and guest speakers; a tribute by the Payson Military Honor Guard with a rifle salute and Taps; a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace; and a moment of silence. Additional elements of the program are still being finalized, according to retired U.S.M.C. Col. Bill Sahno of the Patriotic Events Committee.

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