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Eastside communities celebrate Memorial Day
There are plenty of Memorial Day celebrations to choose from on the eastside of Columbus including a Memorial ceremony at Silent Home Cemetery in Truro Township and a ceremony at Violet Cemetery in Pickerington.
Reynoldsburg American Legion Post #798 will hold a flag lowering and flag replacement ceremony at the Silent Home Cemetery at the intersection of Jackson and Graham Street at 5 p.m. May 28, Legion member Timothy Dunn said.
“What we normally do and will do again is take the old colors down at Silent Home Cemetery and run up some new colors and put flags out at the headstones,” Dunn said. “All trustees are there and involved. We get a Boy Scout troop to assist us.”
Dunn said he will make a presentation to the Truro Township Trustees of a flag that was flown over the Capitol Building and a letter from Congressman Pat Tiberi.
“I will present them that flag and the letter in a frame,” he said.
The post commander will deliver a short speech in honor of fallen comrades-in-arms, followed by a prayer from the post chaplain. After the prayer, all members of the legion and volunteers will disperse throughout the cemetery to place flags on the headstones of fallen veterans.
Celebrating Memorial Day is important because it gives people an opportunity to recognize service members who have died in the field of battle, Dunn said.
“We are honoring their namesake because now they are in the post of forever,” he said.
During the day, beginning at 9 a.m. the post also will hold poppy sales at various locations in Reynoldsburg. All donations collected are used to support families of deployed veterans, Veterans in Need, Buckeyes Boys State and the Helping Hands food pantry, among others.
“We also fund families of deployed veterans,” Dunn said. “If they need something, they can give us a call and we will buy some groceries or help with rent.”
Pickerington will hold its Memorial Day celebration at Violet Cemetery at 9 a.m. followed by a Color Guard march to Victory Park. At 1 p.m. there will be a memorial service at 1 p.m. at the David A. Johnston American Legion Post 283, 7725 Refugee Road.
“We actually have a whole weekend connected into Memorial Day,” Legion member Terry Earhart said. “On Monday, we will start with the Boy Scouts and generally a crowd of 30 or so people at Violet Cemetery in Pickerington.”
After the ceremony at Violet Cemetery, legion members will head to Glen Rest Cemetery in Reynoldsburg. The legion holds a memorial service for three Marines buried at Glen Rest including Dave Johnson, the namesake of the Pickerington American Legion, who was killed in Vietnam.
The other two service members who will be honored are Terry Parsons and Dustin Derga, who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq in 2005. Parsons was not a resident of Pickerington but served in the same unit as Johnson.
At 1 p.m. at Post 283, Major Pat Thurbin, who served several tours in Iraq, will speak. Participants will sing the National Anthem, followed by a 21-gun salute to remember the fallen and forgotten, Earhart said.
“Over time, we seem to have gotten away from doing what is right on Memorial Day,” Earhart said. “When I was little on Memorial Day there were parades, lots of people lined the streets and it was a much larger event.”
Earhart said people have drifted away from honoring the fallen on Memorial Day to golfing, grilling or riding a boat on Buckeye Lake.
“Unfortunately it is just another holiday to a lot of people,” he said.
The city of Whitehall will hold a memorial ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Whitehall police station, followed by a ceremony at 11 a.m. at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery and at noon at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Center, 4100 E. Main St.
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