Thirty-nine new bricks containing the names of honored veterans were installed Tuesday at the Highland County Veterans Memorial, in preparation for the annual ceremonies scheduled for Memorial Day, which this year is Monday, May 31.
Vietnam veteran and Hillsboro VFW Post 9094 Commander Rick Wilkin told The Times-Gazette that a total of 39 bricks were to be enshrined at the memorial on the courthouse square this spring, with two of the bricks being replacements.
Maj. Floyd “Mac” McCray (U.S Army/Ret.), who was “supervising” as his wife Judy and others installed the new bricks Tuesday, said there was room for nearly 5,000 names on the bricks at the memorial, which recognize former and active duty service personnel.
As was the case last year with the pandemic, Wilkin said Memorial Day ceremonies this year will be modest, but no less important.
“We’ll be having the service at 10:30 and it probably won’t be as big as in the past,” he said. “There won’t be any bleachers this year, but next year we hope we’ll have them back.”
He advised those planning to attend to bring lawn chairs if they needed to set down during the ceremonies, which this year will especially honor all veterans of World War II, in addition to two men who were to be recognized for their service during the December 1944 German counter-offensive also known as the Battle of the Ardennes.
“We have two veterans we’re planning to honor that were in the Battle of the Bulge,” Wilkin said. “Herman Holt is one of them, and I believe he’s 101, and the other is Mac McCray, who I think will be 98 this year.”
Maj. Matthew Morrow (USAF/Ret.) is slated to be the keynote speaker for the Memorial Day observance, and Wilkin said there would be certificates of recognition for all of the World War II veterans, in addition to special certificates that would be awarded to Holt and McCray.
Following the ceremony, he said the Highland County Veteran’s Honor Guard will go to both the Catholic and Hillsboro cemeteries to honor veterans interred there.
“They’ll also be going to Sinking Spring, and we’ve also got a crew from the Honor Guard going to Buford and Mowrystown,” he said. “It’ll be a busy day.”
Wilkin said that he’d like to ask that any local veterans of the World War II, and those that were in the Battle of the Bulge, contact VFW Post 9094 at 937-393-0211 and leave a message if there was no answer, or to call Rick’s Body Shop at 937-364-2371.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.