MARCO ISLAND — Memorial Day is likely to be hot, and participants in Marco Island’s Memorial Day ceremonies, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Marco Cemetery on West Elkcam Circle, are likely to be thirsty and perspiring afterward. Iberia Bank is stepping in to help out, providing cold refreshments at their building immediately after the service on Monday.
Along with the drinks, attendees will be able to view a display of memorabilia from a number of the island’s veterans, said Keith Dameron, the Iberia Bank vice president/branch manager.
Iberia Bank is right across the street from the cemetery, at the intersection of Elkcam Circle and Bald Eagle Drive South, and all people will have to do is head for the flags. The bank will be covered with Old Glory on the outside for Memorial Day, with the lobby serving as a temporary war museum.
The idea for the display came from the flags, said Dameron.
“I told (my wife) Barbara I want the entire front of the bank draped in American flags for Memorial Day, ” said Dameron, who borrowed the flags from Rick Borman of the Naples Town Hall speakers series.
“Lee Rubenstein brought in a jar of sand from Omaha Beach in Normandy,” site of the D-Day invasion, “and the word just spread from vet to vet.” Displays will include a Walther PPK pistol taken from a German officer responsible for executing a group of American prisoners of war, along with two Nazi daggers, all owned by Fred Burnham.
Phil Ballou, who can be counted to wear his Revolutionary War uniform for the day, actually served in World War II in what was then the Army Air Corps. He has contributed a collection of service ribbons, medals and insignia, both his own and his mother’s, who also served.
Another World War II relic on display is a sailor’s jersey from the USS Robinson, a Navy destroyer.
“The vets are digging stuff out of boxes, and bringing in more every day,” said Dameron. “I had two more collections brought in today.” He has been mounting and tagging the exhibits, displaying previously unknown talent as a museum curator.
All the memorabilia will be on display from Memorial Day, when the Iberia Bank lobby will be open, although the bank will be closed for the holiday, through Saturday, June 18, when the bank will hold a “Patriotic Shred Party.” These events have allowed Islanders, as well as those who come from elsewhere, to securely dispose of old records and unwanted documents.
“I’m on the fundraising committee for the Veterans’ Memorial, so we’re going to turn the shred party into a fundraiser,” said Dameron.
For Memorial Day, the iced drinks may be the biggest draw.
“It’s a fair assumption it’s going to be warm on Monday,” Dameron said. “This will be a great way to cool off.”