Osage County Veterans Eternal Flame: Again emitting a remembrance of their service

Scouts of Cub Scout Pack 107 hold American flags ready to be retired during a flag retirement ceremony held Tuesday by American Legion Post 125, Lyndon.

Forty-five years from when it was first ignited, the Osage County Veterans Eternal Flame has been re-lighted. During a brief ceremony during a cold Tuesday evening, Nov. 11, 2014, Veterans Day, about 30 people gathered on the front lawn of the Osage County Courthouse as the switch was thrown to light the new electrically operated “flame”.

Although the gas operated flame was first dedicated in 1969, the energy shortage of the 1970s caused it to be extinguished, according to Post 125 Commander Jayson Massey. Recent efforts by Massey and members the American Legion Post 125, Lyndon, have put the flame back in working order, although now it will be lighted by electric LED lights, connected to circuit that operates outside lights at the courthouse.

Before Tuesday’s ceremony, the flame housing had been refurbished and wired for the electrical fixture. While the wiring had not been completed for Tuesday’s ceremony, the light was connected to an extension cord, allowing a switch to be thrown and the courthouse lawn to be aglow from the light of the flame.

In the short lighting ceremony, Massey said, “The only thing that the American Legion asks of you is that you never let this flame be extinguished again.” (See text of Massey’s speech below.)

With the wiring completed, the light should come on each evening and remain lighted through the night. According to Massey, the energy efficient lighting is expected to have minimal operating cost.

Massey also reported that Frank Mersmann, of American Legion Post 198, Osage City, had researched the light and found an original press release sent to all five newspapers in the county in 1969.

This is the text of the release: “FREEDOM FLAME TO BE DEDICATED 11 NOVEMBER. 1969. An eternal flame comme[mo]rating the 50th anniversary of the American Legion and honoring all of the Osage County Veterans who have given of themselves in the service of their country will be dedicated on the Osage County Courthouse lawn in Lyndon, Kansas, on Veterans Day 11 November 1969 at 10:30 A.M. A special thanks to Clint Thompson Redi-Mix of Osage City; Dick Wark Trenching of Lyndon; Lyndon Lumber Company of Lyndon; Gas Service Company of Lyndon; Kansas City Power and Light employees of Lyndon; Alvin and Dean Pieman, stone masons of Vassar; and all others who donated time or material toward this lasting memorial to our servicemen.”

The Lyndon American Legion post also celebrated Veterans Day evening with a soup supper and flag retirement ceremony at Lyndon Community Center. The post was assisted in the flag retirement ceremony by Cub Scout Pack 107. In addition to American Legion members and supporters from around the county, other special guests present for the ceremonies were Department Commander Emery McKimmy, Department Auxiliary President Tonia Ison, Department Finance Officer Anna Smith, and representatives for the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs, who manned the VA mobile unit.

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American Legion Post 125 Commander Jayson Massey leads the ceremony as the Osage County Veterans Eternal Flame is lighted once again.

Eternal Flame Ceremony
Veterans Day 2014

By Jayson E Massey
Commander American Legion Post 125, Lyndon, KS

In 1969 Veterans of our county decided to erect a monument on these grounds that showed their dedication to their brothers-in-arms. This monument produced an eternal flame – a symbol of remembrance of the wars we had fought in, the sacrifices we had made, and the people that we sent into harm’s way for us to have our freedoms. A mere five years later, a national gas crisis extinguished this flame for 40 years.

Today we come together to relight this flame in a new way. Instead of fire, we are using electricity, but the meaning is still the same. Regard the light that this memorial emits as a remembrance of all our military stands for: Dedication, devotion, faith, and courage.

The only thing that the American Legion asks of you is that you never let this flame be extinguished again. An eternal flame is exactly as it states, eternal. Remembrance of our veterans will always exist as long as we keep this torch forever lit.

On behalf of the American Legion Posts in Osage County, thank you for coming tonight. May God bless our military, veterans, and our community.


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