(Posted Nov. 4, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Veterans Day observances in Madison County will look different this year due COVID-19 safety concerns. Some organizations are taking alternative approaches to their ceremonies; others are foregoing them altogether.
In Plain City, Veterans Day ceremonies normally take place at Plain City Elementary. Because the school is not allowing outside guests due to the pandemic, village officials have organized a ceremony that will take place at 10:45 a.m. Nov. 11 at Pastime Park.
“We just wanted to make sure Veterans Day wasn’t passed by,” said Mayor Jody Carney.
About the outdoor ceremony, which will take place rain or shine, she added, “This is the kind of stuff we can do safely.”
Charles E. Stenner Jr. is the guest speaker. Stenner served in the U.S. Air Force, retiring after 40 years as a three-star lieutenant general, chief of the Air Force Reserve with a desk at the Pentagon, and commander of the Air Force Reserve Command with duties at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.
Representatives from Plain City American Legion Post 248 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Darby Post 3268 will take part in the ceremony. Kyle Russell, a band student at Jonathan Alder High School, will play “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Taps.”
As they did for their Memorial Day ceremony in May, members of Mount Sterling American Legion Post 417 will live stream a Veterans Day ceremony on the “I grew up in Mt. Sterling, Ohio’ Facebook page. A small group of post members will hold a brief ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Veterans Park, located across from town hall, 1 S. London St. The video will be available for viewing after the fact, as well.
“It seemed to work pretty well when we did it for Memorial Day,” said Wesley Pierce, Post 417 commander.
Post 417’s Auxiliary Unit will not serve its traditional dinner for veterans and guests.
Norwood Elementary, 899 Norwood Dr., West Jefferson, will honor veterans with a ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Nov. 11. Due to the school’s COVID-19 safety protocols, the public is not permitted to attend.
Fifth-graders will share their essays on “What America Means To Me.” The guest speakers are Brig. Gen. Maria Kelly and Lt. Col. Mitchell Gargac. Representatives from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7005 and American Legion Post 201 will participate in the ceremony. The West Jefferson color guard will perform a 21-gun salute. Clara Drummond, a West Jefferson High School student, will play “Taps” to bring the ceremony to a close.
Traditionally, the United Veterans Organization (UVO) hosts a Veterans Day program at London High School, open to students and the public. That is not happening this year. Neither is the dinner that American Legion Post 105 puts on for veterans, family members and guests.
“There are too many older people and too many chances,” said Phil Robinette, UVO president and Legion Post 105 finance officer and color guard captain.
Organizers made the cancellations with the health and safety of participants in mind.
“We’ll all be thinking about our veterans, and we’re hoping this all gets figured out by next year,” Robinette said, referring to the pandemic.
UVO member organizations include Amvets Chapter 19, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 93, American Legion Post 105 and Vietnam Veterans Chapter 746.
Madison County Senior Center
While the Madison County Senior Center won’t hold its annual Veterans Day program this year, it will offer free lunches to veterans on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The center’s drive-through pickup hours are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Veterans who plan to pick up meals are asked to place their orders on Nov. 10 by calling (740) 852-3001. The center is located at 280 W. High St., London.