VFW planning ceremony
On a busy Memorial Day weekend, members of De Soto VFW Post 6654 will once again remind the community of the day's significance with a ceremony at the De Soto Cemetery.
Post Commander Drew Culbertson said the post's annual ceremony would start at 11 a.m. Monday at the cemetery flagpoles.
The ceremony will include a wreath presentation, a few words in memory of those who fell in the service of the country, a prayer and a 21-gun salute. De Soto Boy Scout Derrick Smith will play "Taps."
At 8 a.m., VFW members and De Soto Boy Scouts will also place American flags along Penner/83rd Street and on 87th Street to the cemetery, Culbertson said.
After the cemetery ceremony, VFW members will have a groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial to be built in front of the post on Penner Avenue, Culbertson said.
"We wanted to wait until we had, or nearly had, a building permit in our possession," he said. "We thought what better time for the groundbreaking than Memorial Day.
"It'll be pretty informal. We'll have a bigger ceremony when it's dedicated."
The memorial, which is now staked out in front of the post, will be 20 foot in diameter with flags and commemorative plaques.
Culbertson said the memorial was being funded through the selling of bricks.
"The cost of a brick is $40," he said. "Roughly 50 percent goes to the construction of the memorial."
Bricks can be inscribed with up to three lines of copy honoring veterans or veteran supporters, such as members of the post's men's and ladies' auxiliaries, Culbertson said.
"The only rules we're steady with is no advertising," he said.
More information on the bricks can be found at the post's Web site at www.vfw6654.org.
Also on tap for the weekend is a canoe race from the Eudora boat ramp on the Wakarusa River down the Kaw to the year-old De Soto boat ramp in the West Bottoms. Darrel Zimmerman conceived the boat race as a way to celebrate the Kansas River's importance in the two communities, which are both having sesquicentennial celebrations this year.
There is no advance registration for the race. Zimmerman said he would be at the Eudora boat ramp site at 8 a.m. Saturday to collect the $20 entry fee and hand out applications. The race will start at 9 a.m.
The race's winner will collect all the prize money and receive a traveling trophy, Zimmerman said.
"I've had three calls from people saying they were interested," he said. "It makes it surprising that way, but it save a lot on paperwork and scheduling."
The race will go on rain or shine, Zimmerman said.
Water levels are still high on the Wakarusa and Kansas rivers as water is being released from reservoirs upstream after heavy rains earlier this month. Zimmerman said that would make the race go a bit faster and eliminate any portages.
The Eudora boat ramp is just north Burlington Northern Santa Fe on the southwest corner of the Wakarusa River Bridge on Main Street.