By Linda Dillman
The village of Lockbourne rolled out the red, white and blue for its recent Memorial Day celebration after a year’s hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID -9 pandemic.
Held annually since 2006, the population of Lockbourne swells by hundreds to honor military soldiers, sailors, and airmen who gave their life in service to the country.
While 500 onlookers from village residents to visitors from the surrounding area enjoyed a parade down Lockbourne’s main street, it was standing room only as 350 individuals attended a ceremony in the town’s Veterans Park following the parade.
“The town looks forward to having the Memorial Day parade and ceremony every year, which brings the community together,” said parade committee member Dawn Albrecht
Mayor Christie Ward said 20 volunteers organized the parade that drew many participants—from a mock jet carrying village officials to a float from Obetz filled with council members, first responder vehicles, kids on decorated bicycles, political candidates, and county officials.
“This was my first parade and I can’t believe how well it all came together,” said Councilwoman Tammy Langley
In addition to honoring Hamilton High School graduates who recently enlisted in the military, the ceremony at the park included recognition of the McCumber family for their long legacy of military service dating back to John M. McCumber, Sr., who enlisted in August 1862 in the infantry.
McCumber family members also served in World War II, in the Ohio Air National Guard, on active duty in the Air Force, and at DSCC Columbus.
Carolynn McCumber Park enlisted in the Air Force in 1988 as an airman and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. She served as an aircraft mechanic, maintenance flight commander, and inspector general and retired after 29 years in the Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard.
“I am proud of how everyone was able to come together to get this done. Everything was beautiful and I love how we continue to grow each year,” said Council President Susan Grandstaff.
New this year was a longer parade route and moving the ceremony to the new Veterans Park in Lockbourne’s town square.
“Because we didn’t have a parade last year due to COVID-19, this was a special year to get back together,” said Ward. “This year, we had the largest attendance and participants in the parade. Many of the surrounding businesses and nearby communities also participated. There is a lot of excitement about the new Veterans Park, both within the community and township.”
Honored guests included 121st ARW Commander Colonel David Johnson, Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano, Franklin County Engineer Cornell Robertson, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin and Hamilton Schools Superintendent Mark Tyler.
“Lockbourne is proud of its military history, not only because of the many current or former residents who are veterans, but also because of its connection with Rickenbacker, formerly known as Lockbourne Air Force Base,” said Ward.
Nearby Rickenbacker Airport and Air National Guard Base, first known as Lockbourne Air Force Base, was activated in June 1942 and was originally named after the village of Lockbourne.
“Residents still think of Rickenbacker as ‘our base,’” said Ward. “We want to make sure that the stories and vast history of Lockbourne Air Force Base are not forgotten. The Memorial Day parade and ceremony gives us an opportunity to share that history.”