Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division commemorated Memorial Day on May 28, 2012 on the grounds of the post cemetery on historical Fort Riley. The Memorial Day observance marked the 144th Memorial Day since it was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to this country. Originally, the graves of the fallen would be decorated in their honor. At Fort Riley, a wreath was placed in honor of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.
Addressing the memorial service, Brigadier General Donald MacWillie, the post Senior Commander, spoke about the meaning of Memorial Day for the 1st Infantry Division, which was organized in 1917 during WWI. BG MacWillie stated that the Big Red One has lost 46 soldiers downrange since last Memorial Day.
MacWillie stated we observe Memorial Day on this day because, “Every day is Independence Day in this great country!"
The special musical numbers at the Fort Riley Memorial Day Observance were presented by the 1st Infantry Division Band, and the four cannon salute was presented by the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery.