ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Memorial day was first established and held on may 30 of 1868. In the 154 years since, those traditions have been upheld and many new traditions have been added. Across the Big Country, we have special Memorial Day traditions of our own.

General Order 11, the document declaring memorial day read in part:

“The 30th day of May 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion… Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor.”

Each year, Fredrick Vaught, along with the Abilene Cactus Lions Club, plants flags across Abilene. Vaught, being a Veteran, holds the banner to a higher meaning than most.

“For knowing some of the guys that did not make it home, that Memorial Day is for them,” Vaught told KTAB/KRBC.

In memory of those who have fallen in service, Taps will be heard at Buffalo Gap’s Historic Village – played by professional Bugler, Timothy Phillips of Taps for Veterans.

“It’s closing the curtain on someone’s life,” Phillips explained.

Phillips told KTAB/KRBC that he himself did not serve, but he takes pride in offering his services free-of-charge to Veterans and their families.

“There was a Marine Lieutenant Colonel- I played for his memorial,” Phillips recalled. “Before he died, he insisted that he have a live player and not a recording.”

It’s charge he treats with the highest regard. He will play the piece at 3:00 p.m. Memorial Day. That’s the same time many across the nation will be taking up a horn in unison.

The Cactus Lions Club offers another way to display your gratitude- by way of a year’s worth of flag service for major holidays. More information on how to get your lawn set up can be found on their Facebook page, or by contacting them by email here. You can also call at (512) 586-6018.