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Nevada Patriotic Council looking for new members, especially from the younger generation

The Nevada Patriotic Council puts on an exceptional Memorial Day observance for our community every May. But this dedicated group of volunteers desperately needs new members, especially those from a younger generation.
“We have members of this group who are in their 90s,” said Sue McCaskey, who at age 67 is one of, if not the youngest member of the Patriotic Council.
On Memorial Day of 2015, Sue got involved with the group because her father, Louie, was failing in his health and was still the person in charge of lining up all of the cars for the procession. “I could tell he was struggling, so I went over to help him,” Sue said. Then on May 1, 2016, Louie died, and with Memorial Day just 30 days away, Sue decided to take his spot on the Council. She has stayed on ever since.
Louie was one of the military veteran members of the Council; there are a few. But Sue makes it clear that being a veteran isn’t a requirement. “We just need people who really want to show our veterans and active military personnel their appreciation,” she said.
The Nevada Patriotic Council has one job: Memorial Day — planning for it and carrying it out. Those on the Patriotic Council have about five or six meetings a year, all occurring between February and the end of May.
“We have some pretty intense meetings for two or three of those, when we’re trying to get everything set up and make decisions about who our dignitaries will be,” Sue said.
They then get busy on the weekend of Memorial Day, which includes finding volunteers to help put up flags and serve a breakfast for all the volunteers on that Saturday. They appreciate contributions from Fareway and Dollar Fresh this past year for the breakfast, Sue noted. She said flags are put up in both the City Municipal Cemetery and the Catholic Cemetery.
“We are quickly approaching flag capacity,” Sue added. She explains that every flag put up in the cemeteries represents a veteran from this area. All of those veterans are listed on the program, another task of the Council which has been efficiently handled for many years by Linda Beem. “This means we’re going to soon need to find more places for flag poles,” Sue said. “We don’t want to discourage anybody from having a flag put up, because we want all of our veterans to be represented.”
The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend has just a few small tasks, and then the work of putting on the service happens Monday morning.
“We have a member who gets the sound system ready at the cemetery, and this past year, we were fortunate to have Dane Nealson do our sound at the Story County Administration building. That was really nice,” she said. There is also set up at the cemetery. Chairs are provided by Justin Rasmusson, owner of the local funeral home. “We are thankful for him giving us the chairs to use.”
The Council invites those going into the military to be honored at the early service in front of the administration building, where there is also a flag raising.
As the procession that morning takes dignitaries of the day to the City Cemetery, Sue said Council members help get everyone seated for the main services there.
“On Memorial Day, I get goosebumps. It makes my heart swell,” Sue said of all the flags, the wonderful attendance of community members, the young people in the high school band, and the beauty of the Nevada Municipal Cemetery. “Nevada probably has one of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever been in, and our City Parks and Rec Department does such a marvelous job getting it ready.”
The beautiful, sunny Memorial Days provide the best memories and the biggest goosebumps, but Sue noted that the Council also works with the Story County Fair Association to be sure the nearby Community Building or Christy Hall are available in case of inclement weather. “They’re always wonderful to give us that option as a backup,” she said.
The present members of the Patriotic Council want to be sure the tradition of Nevada’s Memorial Day observance continues for generations to come. “The biggest thing we need immediate help with is people with the muscle to do things like putting up and taking down flags,” Sue said. The local Boy Scouts are always great helpers, but they can’t do it all. “A lot of our Patriotic Council members can’t lift and do all of the things they used to do.”
If you can’t attend the meetings, but would like to serve on the Council by being part of the weekend preparations, Sue said, that too, is an option.
“There are many ways to be involved,” she said. “If people have an interest, they can attend one of our meetings to see what we are all about and then make a decision.”
Sue said she often thinks back to the tragedy of 9-11 and the days that followed. “We were all so patriotic… We need those patriots now. We’re open to new ideas. We just need people with a desire to present a program that is dedicated to our veterans and to eulogize the ones who have gone before.”
If you are interested in becoming part of the Patriotic Council in 2024, please reach out to Sue McCaskey at

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada

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