The formal observance of Memorial Day dates back to around 1868. Before that year, a tradition had developed whereby the graves of the soldiers killed in the Civil War had been decorated with flowers. Since then, poppy flowers have become associated with Memorial Day observances. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1950, Lea County residents honored those who died in World War II in a ceremony on the court house grounds. A special plaque called the Roll of Honor was rededicated that day that bore the names. The first such memorial was dedicated six years earlier on Memorial Day, 1944.
The 1950 ceremony was carried out at 3:00 p.m. by the Lovington unit of the American Legion. W. E. Davis acted as Master of Ceremonies. The service began with the playing of the National Anthem followed by the raising of the American flag by Press Benson. Reverend W. M. Beauchamp gave the invitation.
The people of Lovington and Lea County will pay homage to the deceased Veterans of Lea County on Memorial Day, May 30, with a special ceremony at the site of the Memorial Plaque on the Court House lawn at 3 P.M. G. T. Hanners was the speaker. Following his remarks, he read names in the Roll of Honor and placed the memorial wreath. Poppies for the wreath were gifts of Mrs. Ida B. Gaither of Zoe, Oklahoma, a charter Member of the Lovington Unit of the American Legion Auxiliary. Miss Ethel Yadon dedicated the memorial tree planted by the members of the Lovington American Legion Auxiliary. Reverend L. W. Hardcastle gave the benediction, followed by the playing of Taps by Mrs. Patricia Burkett Lawson.
Note: This memorial was later replaced by the current memorial erected in 2004, which consists of four black granite tablets bearing the names of those who died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and later conflicts including the War on Terrorism.