Christ Our King Lutheran Church Remembers Our Fallen Heroes at Memorial Event

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Christ Our King Lutheran Church is set to host its second annual Memorial Event this Saturday, May 28 from 11am to 1pm. The event, which is open to the Saline community, will include speakers, music, and a free picnic lunch.

Chris Chapin, one of the event coordinators, said the church decided to offer this special ceremony again this year after having received a positive response from the community in 2021.

“Last year’s Memorial event was a first for Christ Our King, driven by our Patriotic Committee, to bring a sense of togetherness for the congregation and local community given the lockdown everyone was experiencing with COVID,” he said. “Because the City of Saline had also canceled the Memorial Day parade, we felt an obligation to honor our veterans through this special event.”

This year’s guest speaker is Phillip Pham, who will be sharing the story of his escape from the fall of Saigon with his father, Kheim Quang Pham, a 1st Lieutenant and pilot in the South Vietnamese Air Force, in 1975.

Prelude music will be provided by The Village Brass Quintet beginning at 10:45 am, and will continue throughout the festivities.

Following the ceremony and speakers, a complimentary lunch of grilled hot dogs, burgers, coleslaw, baked beans, desserts and drinks will be offered to all who attend.

Bob Schrock, a member of Christ Our King, will be on hand with his collection of military Jeeps from World War II. Schrock, a US Army Veteran, serves on the Patriotic Committee as a way to “give back” to those who served. On patriotic holidays, Schrock can often be found with his display of Jeeps and other historic military paraphernalia. He has participated in numerous parades, and was recently a part of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall at Concordia University Ann Arbor in November.

“This is a time for our community to come together to honor and remember those valiant military heroes who died in the quest to keep our nation safe, secure and free,” said Laura Edge, a member of COK’s Patriotic Committee. “As we take time to solemnly remember these brave souls, we can come to appreciate more fully the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom and can more clearly comprehend the truism that ‘Freedom is not free.’”

Edge, a local author, served as last year’s speaker, where she shared the experiences of her father, who flew combat missions over Nazi Germany with the 8th Air Force airmen during World War II. Her father’s story is recorded in her book “On The Wings of Dawn: American Airmen as Germany’s Prisoners”. In her research, she interviewed surviving crewmates and fellow prisoners of war.

“Hearing the stories documented in my book led me to want to capture the stories of other World War II veterans. I became a volunteer for the Library of Congress, Veterans History Project. Knowing the stories of these quiet heroes, stories of self-sacrifice and courage, are now preserved for future generations gives me great satisfaction.”

Willard Zirk, COK member and veteran, also speaks of his time serving the United States Army Band, and the moving experience of being part of the funeral detail at Arlington National Cemetery.

“In my talk last year, I spoke about my seven years in the U. S. Army Band, Pershing's Own, based in Fort Myer, Washington, D. C.,” he said. “ My duties included daily rehearsals, funeral processions at Arlington Cemetery for the fallen heroes who died in Vietnam, state arrivals at the White House lawn, wreath-laying ceremonies for visiting foreign dignitaries, the inaugural parade for Jimmy Carter, and performing three concerts weekly during the summer on the Capitol steps and at the Jefferson Memorial. It was a whirlwind of activity.

Dean Greb, a member of Saline Area Historical Society, also serves on the Patriotic Committee.

“Saline is a patriotic community, as reflected in the annual Memorial Day parade attendance,” he said. “I am a Vietnam veteran and believe it is important to remember and honor our veterans who have passed.”

Laura Edge agrees. “Serving on Christ Our King’s Patriotic Committee and helping plan events such as our Memorial Day Remembrance are ways I can give thanks to those who step up to make sure our country remains free.”

Christ Our King Lutheran Church is located at 3255 Saline Waterworks Road. The Memorial Event will be held on Saturday, May 28th from 11 am-1pm. This event is open to the public and includes a free lunch following the ceremony. For more information, visit: https://christ-our-king.org/events/2022/05/28/memorial-event-remembering-our-fallen-heros

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