By Rick Palsgrove
Memorial Day in Groveport is a special day in the town dating back to the day’s origins in the post-Civil War period.
Groveport annually marks this day of remembrance for the sacrifices made by honored fallen members of the military with the traditional parade followed by a solemn and moving ceremony in the Groveport Cemetery.
Prior to the ceremony, members of Boy Scout Troop 71 placed flags on the graves of each of the veterans buried there. Each Memorial Day is special as we pay respects to the fallen as the flags gently flutter beside each tombstone and flowers grace the graves.
“We appreciate the Scouts placing the flags,” said Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp following this year’s ceremony. “Memorial Day is an important day. It brings the community together.”
Speaking at the ceremony, American Legion Commander John Stertzer, Sr., said, “This day is sacred.”
Added Motts Military Museum Director Warren Motts, “We must always remember the brave men and women who died in battle defending our freedoms.”
Keynote speaker Sean McCarthy, who is assistant director at the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, harkened back to the words President Abraham Lincoln spoke in his “Gettysburg Address” that “…from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”
Each year the city of Groveport recognizes 12 veterans from the community by displaying banners honoring them at each of the city’s Main Street intersections. This year’s “Hometown Military Banner Honorees” are: William Schweinberg, USAF; Scott Clinger, USAF; Wayne Whisman, Army; Jonathan Pierce, USAF; Joseph Jackson, USAF; Montgomery Dotson, Army; John Karlich, Navy; David Frashier, Air National Guard; Mark Keller, Army; David Flowers, USMC; Marion Gray, Army (World War II D-Day); and Bill Branscomb, Navy.
The banners will be displayed from Memorial Day to Veterans Day.
Following this year’s Memorial Day ceremony on May 30, the crowd slowly and quietly filtered out of the cemetery. A few lingered and walked among the graves paying respects to loved ones and to the flag decorated veterans graves they passed.
As the last of the people left the grounds and the cemetery gate closed, silence once again enveloped the Groveport Cemetery save for the wind in the trees and the songs of the birds under a bright blue sky with puffy clouds.
Memorial Day endures and is an elegant, dignified reminder to us all of the profound sacrifices made by members of our communities in service to their country.