The Elks Lodge No. 129 held the Elks Grand Lodge-mandated Memorial Service on Sunday to honor the members who have passed away over the last year and to remember all “brothers and sisters.”
The event began Sunday at the lodge with a welcoming of the crowd. A small crowd, which consisted of family, friends and others, attended the event wanting to honor the departed. A prayer was said for the honorees and the roll of absent was called by the Elks’ secretary. Between Dec. 7, 2014 and Dec. 6 of this year, 11 members of the Elks Lodge passed away.
The 11 members honored at the ceremony were: Wayne Cowdery, Don Eckles, Randal G. Geesling, Marvin Dray, Russell Oberschlake, Carl J. Barr, Jr., Gordon Davis, Gary L. Cruea, Dick Thornberry, William “Bud” Miller and Dick Immell. After the first song was performed by Ed Helt, the ritual began.
Eleven candles were extinguished to symbolize the lives lost and three plants were placed at the altar. The Forget-Me-Not, which was placed by Leading Knight Scott Mullen, symbolizing charity, an Amaranth, placed by Loyal Knight Tyler Osborne, symbolizing justice as well as immortality as this is one of the oldest plants in the nation according to Helt, and finally cling Ivy, placed by Past Exalted Ruler Larry Cruea, symbolizing brotherly love, was completed during the ceremony. Helt then gave a memorial address for the departed.
The crowd sang Auld Lang Syne in memory and the Eleven O’Clock Toast was completed. The toast, which is indicated by 11 chimes on a clock, began as a tradition when the Elks would normally be finishing their meeting at 11 p.m. It was adopted as a way to remind the living of all the deceased members of the lodge. Additionally, it serves as a message to the departed, a way of saying they will not be forsaken nor forgotten.
“I think it went well and I greatly appreciate the crowd for coming out,” Helt said during an interview Tuesday. “Though not large, it was a nice turnout. The ceremony is designed to honor all of the fallen brothers and sisters of the Elks Lodge. I am pleased and proud to have held the service and for everyone attending.”
The service concluded with a brief prayer and closing remarks, which included thanking the crowd for attending. These names will be added to the plaque at the lodge to hold their memory.
“The ceremony is served as a way to honor the memory of those we lost this year and throughout our existence since 1889,” Past Exalted Ruler Dave Garringer said. “It serves to say that those who have passed on are not forsaken. That we never forget them. The event had only 15 or 20 people, but it was a very successful and wonderful service. The ceremony is not a long one, but it is one that we have to do every year. Overall it was a good ceremony and a great way to start off December. The next one will be held on the first Sunday of next December and we hope the community can join us to continue remembering those members we have lost.”
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