By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
American Legion Post 29 in Washington will host an inspirational and dynamic speaker Memorial Day, May 28, at 10 a.m. in the Washington High School varsity gym. Chaplain Antonette Tom, U.S. Army (RET.) will be the keynote speaker.
Tom was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Sacramento. After graduating high school, she joined the Army as a Medic. She began her 30 years of military service with basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. She then attended the Army medic course in San Antonio, Texas. After graduation, she was assigned to HQ Battery, Division Artillery with the ninth Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.
In 1991, she became a licensed practical nurse and was assigned to multiple U.S. Army hospitals. She eventually was called by God to become a minister and graduated with a B.S. in Health Care Administration and a Masters of Divinity in 2013 from Liberty Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia. Upon graduation, she became an Army Chaplain and is currently assigned to the HQ Company 389th Engineer Batallion, Army Reserves in Dubuque, Iowa.
She is the mother of twin sons. She is a member of the TeMoha Shoshone Tribe from Lee, Nevada. She has been a Staff Chaplain at the Iowa City V.A. Health Care System since 2016. Her mission includes providing spiritual comfort and care to Veterans, their familes and staff members. She provides hope and encouragement to those who are in Palliative care. She leads spirituality classes and groups for in-patient and out-patient mental health. She leads Sunday morning worship services at the hospital and says, prayer offers communion and anointing of the sick.
Memorial Day events begin at 8 a.m., with a flag raising at the Washington Post Office in the 100 block of North Marion Avenue in Washington. The Boy Scouts of America and American Legion Post 29 will conduct the raising. A Navy and Marine tribute will be conducted at the Crooked Creek Bridge on Old Highway 92.
Also, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary will be handing out poppies on Thursday and Friday. As part of a decades-long tradition, the poppies will be pinned on hats, jacket lapels and other clothing items to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who served and died during war. The poppy, which symbolizes the freedom and the blood sacrificed by the troops during war, comes from the poem ?In Flanders Fields,? by Lt. Col. John McCrae. The poem refers to the poppies that grew out of the newly dug soldiers? graves during World War I in Europe. The American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in 1921.
Poppies will be given at the Washington Post Office, the grocery stores in Washington and at Walmart.
In 1898, Gen. John Logan established May 30 as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of those who died in defense of their country. In 1971, Congress changed Decoration Day to the last Monday of May and renamed it Memorial Day.