Remembering: Memorial Day

Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, is when Americans honor those who gave their lives for their country. Many Americans don’t even have anyone in their own family to honor that way, or the one they lost is buried in an overseas cemetery, or have never been found.

Many families take the time to decorate the graves of their ancestors–a wonderful time to share stories from the past.

Honor Roll Memorial–Dexter Park

The small town of Dexter, Iowa, has a memorial in their city park, right next to the highway. It names Dexter boys who lost their lives–four in WWI, thirteen in WWII, one in Korea, and two in Vietnam.


Only six of those are buried in the Dexter Cemetery, but if you come upon one of their gravestones in the Dexfield cemetery, take the time to remember and reflect. Among the WWII losses are Lynford G. Bebout, Charles H. Leighty, Francis Love, and Merlyn L. Thompson. (Hold mouse over each picture for information.)

Clair LeRoy Fett was lost in Korea, and a Vietnam era loss, John A. Marsh. 

The Dexter Cemetery will also be filled with American flags over Memorial Day. The bases for the flag poles, provided by members of the Dexter Legion, are marked with names of people from Dexter who served in the military.

dexter (2)

Dexter Museum Military Area

The military area in the Dexter Museum has been redone. The museum will be open Sunday from 1:00-3:00 Memorial Day weekend.

There is a row of military uniforms displayed, a display of the three Wilson brothers lost during WWII, a case with soldiers’ memorabilia, and the WAVE uniform of Maxine (Shell) Hadley (below at right).


The museum has a picture of the first Dexter soldier killed in WWI, Merritt Winsell, a member of the DHS class of 1916. A cook for the 32nd AeroSquadron D, he was killed in France July 3, 1918. Age 20. Merritt Winsell is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Winsell (2)
Merritt Winsell, first Dexter boy killed in World War I, donated by Dexter Centennial


History of Dexter, Iowa, 1968 Centennial, page 67.

Service Record Book of Men and Women of Dexter, Iowa and Community, by the American Legion Post 419 assisted by the Dexter and Community Business Men


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.