Memorial Day observances

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photos by Rick Palsgrove
Boy Scout Troop 71 leads the procession into Groveport Cemetery at the start of last year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Groveport.

Memorial Day is a solemn and moving tradition for Americans – whether they live in big cities, small towns, or the countryside – dating back to the day’s origins in the post-Civil War period.

Each Memorial Day is special in its own right as we pay respects to the fallen as flags gently flutter by each tombstone and flowers grace the graves.

Time rolls on. Memories of some things in life may fade, but not the memory of the sacrifices made by these, our honored fallen members of the military.

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.

After your local Memorial Day ceremony concludes and the crowd drifts away, linger for awhile in the cemetery. Walk around and read the names on the grave stones. Absorb the ever present silence of the flag decorated graves of the soldiers resting there and the silence of the flower covered graves of generations of others buried there. Remember those who rest in the cemetery were once like us – laughing, loving, living – giving their all every day to better their community and country. Always remember.

Area Memorial Day ceremonies include:

Groveport

Military veterans listened as speakers spoke of the importance of remembrance at last year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Groveport.

The Memorial Day ceremony in Groveport will be held May 27 with the traditional parade at 1:30 p.m. and a ceremony directly after parade in the Groveport Cemetery, which is located on Wirt Road near Heritage Park. The parade starts at Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., and proceeds west down Main Street to College Street, then south on College Street to the Groveport Cemetery.

The guest speaker at the ceremony will be Greg Keller, who retired in 2012 from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency as Chief Disaster Recovery Branch, where he served the state for 32 years. He also retired in 1997 from the 179th Tactical Airlift Wing (Mansfield Lahm Airport) Ohio Air Guard as Captain, Chief of Intelligence 164 Airlift Squadron and served with the 179th from 1977 to 1997.

Opening the ceremony is Commander Josh Saunders, American Legion, Robert Dutro, Post #486, followed by Hassan Roberts, a Columbus firefighter, singing the National Anthem. Warren Motts, founder/director of Motts Military Museum, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Chaplain Christi Hall, Groveport Police Department, will deliver the opening prayer. The Groveport Madison High School Marching Band will also perform.

Mayor Lance Westcamp will honor local veterans by recognizing each Hometown Military Banner Honoree.

The Hometown Military Banners will be displayed at the major Main Street intersections from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. On Memorial Day the banners will be displayed at Veterans Park on Main Street prior to being hung on poles later on Memorial Day.
Veterans honored on the Hometown Military Banners this year are: Katie Ann Gearheart, U.S. Army; John Hougland, U.S. Army; U.S. Army; Paul V. McGonigle, U.S. Army; Thomas W. Stevenson, U.S. Army; Dwight “Eddie” Ward, U.S. Army; Eugene Williams Jr., U.S. Army; Joseph W Shannon Jr., U.S. Marine Corp; Donald Arlen Boso, U.S. Navy; David W. Eberle, U.S. Navy; Robert Lee Graham, U.S. Navy; Thomas R. Wilson, U.S. Navy; Tish R. Pack, U.S. Air Force.

“I am so proud that we have this ceremony each year to recognize those who made the sacrifice to protect our country,” said Westcamp. “It is a great reminder of those who made the unselfish decision to serve our country, including the local veterans who will be recognized with a banner along Main Street. Memorial Day is a highlight for me each year. It is such an important day for all of us to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our Country.”

Groveport American Legion Robert Dutro Post 486, which has played a long time active role in the Groveport Memorial Day ceremony, is named after local resident, Private Robert Dutro, who in 1917 at the age of 15 joined the 6th Marine Regiment during World War I. He would later die in France on July 19, 1918 during the Aisne-Marne offensive. The Post was established in 1924. Follow the Post on Facebook @ groveportamericanlegion.

Canal Winchester

Always remember.

In remembrance of fallen veterans, VFW Post #10523 will host Canal Winchester’s annual Memorial Day ceremony on May 27 at Union Grove Cemetery, 400 Winchester Cemetery Road, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will feature keynote speaker Pastor Al Swartz with David Evangelical Lutheran Church. Other ceremony participants will include Boy Scouts Troop 103, Cub Scouts Troop 103, and the Canal Winchester High School Band.
Immediately following the Canal Winchester Memorial Day ceremony, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts will host a flag retirement ceremony on the cemetery grounds.

The public is invited to attend both ceremonies. Lawn chairs or blankets are encouraged for seating.

Lockbourne
Lockbourne’s annual Memorial Day Parade and Celebration will be held May 27.
The parade begins at noon and a ceremony follows immediately after the parade at 95 Landis St. The parade begins at Lockbourne Road and Commerce Street, runs west on Commerce, south on Williams, east on Mechanics, north on Vause Street and ends at the Lockbourne Veterans Park.

The guest speaker and grand marshal is Col. Andrew P. Powers, Commander, 121st Air Refueling Wing (ARW). Prior to taking command of the 121st ARW, Powers served as the commander of the 178th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group. He is a command pilot with approximately 2,775 flight hours.

The Hamilton Township High School Ensemble will sing the National Anthem.

“Each year, we honor a current or former Lockbourne resident who served in the military,” said Lockbourne Mayor Christie Ward. “There is a flag folding presentation which is then given to our honoree. This year’s honoree is Ben Smith, U.S. Marines.”

In addition to honoring those veterans who sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military, Ward said the village will take the opportunity to share a piece of history of Lockbourne / Rickenbacker Air Force Base.

“We have a display at the ceremony on the Tuskegee Airmen, the Women Air Service Pilots (WASPs), photos of Lockbourne Air Force Base, the Cars Races at the Base, etc.,” said Ward. “This year, we are honoring the 121st ARW and will have a special display for them.”

For information email deputy.admin@lockbourneohio.us or call (614) 491-3161.

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