Members of the Czech Heritage Foundation’s Czech Royal Court recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the audience at the Czech National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS – It’s been years since the Czech National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Service was actually held at the cemetery, at 2200 C St. SW in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Weather on Memorial Day in Iowa often fluctuates between wet and dreary and, as was the case today, hot and humid, so the St. Wenceslaus Glovik Parish Center has been serving as the site of the annual tribute.

Barb Edmunds, vice president of the Czech National Cemetery, lays the Sokol wreath to honor the first person buried at the cemetery. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Gail Naughton, who is finishing her tenure as president and CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, delivered the keynote speech, with music provided by the Czech Plus Band and Czech Heritage Singers.

“I’ve heard lots of stories from immigrants and descendants, here in Cedar Rapids, across the country, and even internationally about the decisions they made, what they sacrificed,” Naughton said. “It was in their voices—the determination and perseverance it took to sacrifice for their families, to escape from tyranny and to strive for a better life.”

Read the rest of Naughton’s remarks: Gail Naughton Memorial Day speech

Members of the American Legion Post #727 served as honor guard, accompanied by the Czech Heritage Foundation’s Czech Royal Court.

Kolaches – a favorite Czech dessert – provided at the end of the service were baked this morning by St. Monica’s Circle of St. Wenceslaus Church.

The Czech National Cemetery was established as the Bohemian Cemetery in 1895 and is managed by a volunteer board of directors.

Learn about other Czech events in Eastern Iowa and see more from today’s service, below. (photos © Cindy Hadish/Homegrown Iowan)