Memorial Day weekend will carry an emotional and memorable time for area families who have lost a loved one in defense of the country.
A Memorial Prayer Wall is going up at the Highland Baptist Church in Grove City that will contain names of men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"Not many churches that I am aware of do something special on Memorial Day," said pastor Dr. Kent Spann. "Several men in the church are veterans and they place a lot of importance on recognizing our service personnel."
But as a church, not much is done, he said.
"Hopefully we can reach out to those who may have lost a son or daughter in any of the wars and give them some spiritual emphasis to the event," he said.
That’s how he came up with the idea of a Memorial Prayer Wall.
"This will allow people to be a part of the service even if they don’t want to come to our service," he said.
People can submit a name of a loved one whose life was lost in a war fought by Americans. Those names will be put on a wall in the back of the sanctuary.
The size of the Memorial Prayer Wall will depend upon the response of the community and how many names are submitted. This being the first year for this project, Spann has no idea of what to expect.
"If I had my druthers, I’d like to have 500 names," he said.
People who know someone who was killed during a war can submit names to the church through May 22, the Thursday before Memorial Day. That will give church workers a few days to put the names on the Memorial Prayer Wall.
Spann, however, will accept names at the last minute, up until the start of the Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. on May 25.
The service itself will be broken into three parts: one to remember those who are serving their country today, one to remember those who have given their lives, and one to make the connection of Christ’s sacrifice, Spann said.
In addition, Chaplain Paul Hyder, who is serving in Iraq, is to call the church during the service and explain what is going on and lead the congregation in prayer. Spann said he got in touch with Hyder through the North American Mission Board after he learned Hyder oversees chaplains for Baptists.
The Memorial Prayer Wall will remain in place well after the May 25 service.
"People can touch it, can pray at it, can take pictures," Spann said.
Anyone who has a name to submit can send it to the Highland Baptist Church at 3460 Hoover Road, Grove City, Ohio 43123. They can call the church during normal business hours at 875-0687 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should carry name, rank and war in which they served.