deceased, opened the services with a solo, "Lead Kindly Light." Mr. Hill offered prayer and Dr. Caldwell sang "My Country Tis of Thee" before the sermon was preached. The simple recounting of Byrl’s life was the greatest tribute that could be paid by the pastor in his sermon.
A large American flag was the only covering on the casket as it was borne from the house. A squad of sailors from Dunwoody training station at Minneapolis were the pall bearers and intimate friends were the body bearers. They were Glenn S. Witherstine, Rochester, G. A. Stoltz, A. S. Kennedy, George Vermilya, Ralph Murray, and Dr. T. J. Moore. A squad of twenty sailors and aviation students led the funeral procession. Immediately after the hearse came the pall bearers and body bearers. Medical officers and the Winona Home Guards proceeded the auto carrying the members of the family, relatives and mourners. Then came the long line of Masons, including many from Elgin, Eyota, Dover, St. Charles, Rochester, and Winona, the Odd Fellows and friends from many parts of Wabasha, Olmsted, and Winona counties. The burial rites at the grave were in charge of the Masonic Lodge, of which he was a member. The Masonic ritual was read at the grave after which full military honors were given, the squad of sailors fired a solute of volleys across the final resting place. Taps were then blown by one of the buglers, while another, standing some distance away, blew an "echo" of the taps and the beautiful and impressive service was over.
We would be glad if we could say all that there is in our heart to say, but how shall a man enumerate the virtues of a friend or catalog the factors of his affection? Yet we would like to have the world know him as we knew him. It is true he is gone, but his memory remains. What he was to each of us and what he was to this home will abide as a gracious recollection throughout all coming years. He will continue with us as a part of our experience and of our lives. In no other calling or pursuit do men learn so keenly and justly to appraise each other and to know and value them. Character in the area is always subjected to the acid test and nowhere else are such warm and enduring friends formed as these which develop out of this great world struggle we are now experiencing.
The supreme test now being asked of your young men reveal not alone what flaws and defects there may be in life and character, but it brings out the strong qualities and the noble qualities of character as well. It is in that same test the record and character of Byrl Sylvester shines stainless and flawless. He was one of the strong young men, industrious, studious, tireless, a high type of American soldier. His life must serve both as an example and as an inspiration to the young men of America. He was considerate and courteous, sympathetic to a degree and rejoined in the service of his country. In his quiet way he was eager and anxious to do his bit.
There is no many to whom this entire community turns with more profound respect than to our war hero. In all his efforts he was exact and painstaking and never spared himself. Few of us will ever forget his last appearance in Plainview. Though he had seen much of the great conflict and suffered from its pain, he gave no sign. He was cheerful, patient, polite through it all. His devotion to duty, his stern sense of responsibility, his obedience to conscious were so complete that all other considerations gave way for the task which he felt it was his duty to complete. He was modest and unobtrusive in his demeanor, but resolute and unswerving in maintaining a decision arrived at after reflection and always ready to give reason for the faith that was in him. He was a delightful and interesting companion as will be attested by all who knew him well. He was an optimist, hopeful not despondent. His whole philosophy of life was sweet and wholesome and he lived up to his philosophy. Whether it was stormy or whether the sun was shining, his attitude was one of complacency, for he lived as one who did daily his daily task and left the consequences with God.
We say he is dead, which is to say his soul has parted company with the
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