At least three Memorial Day observances are planed throughout Highland County on Monday and another will be held nearby in Ross County’s village of South Salem.
In Hillsboro, the observance has been organized by the VFW Post 9094 for several years. It will start at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial at the Highland County Courthouse. Seating and water will be provided.
“Those one’s of us that are here, we want to take that time to honor the ones who have gone before us, and especially the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country’s freedom,” VFW Post Commander Rick Wilkin said in explaining why the VFW organizes the ceremony year after year.
The guest speaker will be retired U.S. Army Colonel Donald C. McCraw Jr.
The will be a 21-gun salute by the Highland County Honor Guard, patriotic music from the Hillsboro High School Band, the playing of taps and singing of the national anthem by honor guard member Roberta Duncan, laying of wreaths for each branch of the military at the memorial, a POW/MIA demonstration, and more.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the Highland County Honor Guard will visit St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery and the Hillsboro Cemetery where it will fire a 21-gun salute in honor of veterans who have passed.
The VFW Post behind the Dairy Queen in Hillsboro will also be open following the uptown services. It will serve a light lunch of lunch meat sandwiches, potato salad and beverages. Wilkin said anyone who attends the service will be welcome.
Also immediately following the uptown service, from approximately 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Highland County Historical Society’s Highland House Museum will be open for anyone that would like to view the newly refurbished Military Room. The museum will also be open from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In Greenfield, services organized by the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield will start with a 10 a.m. parade. Anyone wanting to take part should be lined by 9:45 a.m. at the colonnades at the Greenfield schools.
The parade will head up Jefferson Street and stop at the Greenfield City Building, where there will be a brief ceremony including the laying of wreaths at the war memorials, a 21-gun salute, prayer and patriotic music by the McClain High School Band. The procession will then turn onto Washington Street and head to the Greenfield Cemetery, where the main service will take place. The speaker will be retired U.S. Navy Lt. Colonel Jack Baber.
Concerned Veterans of Greenfield member Bruce Snavely said the organization has been performing Memorial Day services in the village since 1999.
“We do it because the city quit doing it,” Snavely said. “That was the whole reason the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield was started; to keep Memorial Day services going and to recognize veterans here in Greenfield.”
In Pricetown, the Pricetown Church of Christ will start its annual Memorial Day events at 10 a.m. with a march to the cemetery, where T.J. Wolfe will be honored as this year’s representative of local veterans. The traditional program at the church will begin at 11 a.m. with Gus Denzik as the guest speaker. A Community Fellowship Meal will be held from noon to 1 p.m. The meal is free and everyone is welcome to attend all events.
In South Salem, the parade lineup starts at 1:45 p.m. behind Buckskin Elementary. The parade starts at 2 p.m. then marches to the village cemetery, where there will be a program at the nearby gazebo with a speaker, Pledge of Allegiance, reciting of the Gettysburg Address, music by the Greenfield Junior High Band, and more.
There will be an ice cream social with all kinds of homemade goods starting at 3 p.m. at the South Salem United Methodist Church.
South Salem area resident Sandy Free said she’s not sure how long the parade history dates back, but that it goes back at least until the time her 83-year-old mother was a little girl marching in it.
One of the neat traditions, Free said, is kids that march in the parade carrying bouquets of flowers provided by the South Salem Garden Club. She said the club knows exactly how many veterans are buried in the cemetery and the children drop a bouquet at each gravesite.
“It’s really sweet watching those little ones drop the flowers by the flags marking the veterans’ gravesites,” Free said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.
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