CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- A crowd estimated at 300 people turned out for Memorial Day services at All Veterans Memorial Park in Cedar Rapids on Monday. And while the event followed a predictable pattern, there was one small surprise for those in attendance. Program moderators often single out the oldest veteran in attendance. As usual, it was a veteran of World War II — but this time it was a woman veteran.
Audrey Rahn, 96, of Cedar Rapids joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1941 and served until 1943. When asked what her most vivid memory was of that time in service, Corporal Rahn’s answer was a bit of a surprise too.
“We never got enough sleep,” she said simply. Rahn said she was born in Cedar Rapids but moved to Chicago for a large portion of her life. She returned to Cedar Rapids in 1983.
Also a bit of a surprise for the friends who brought her to the event is the age of some of the people who seemed most impressed with her age and military service.
Sue Covington, one of Rahn’s friends, said “the greatest thing is these young kids who have had their picture taken with her today and told her ‘thank you.’ She just feels like she’s floating.”
Another older veteran on a mission at the Cedar Rapids Memorial Day event was Arnold Port. The Air Force veteran who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam was checking off names on a list after the program. Port said he had a list of seven names of relatives who are listed on the marker bricks at the All Veterans Memorial Park. As he found each one, he placed a flag next to the brick.
“It’s respect for the people,” Port said adding “we also go to three cemeteries and put wreaths on people who have passed away.”
Many in the crowd noted that Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives in services while Veteran’s Day honors all who wore the uniform. Many here on this Memorial Day plan to be back in November to remember all veterans.
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