Memorial Day observances will unfold in at least three Highland County communities Monday with a fourth observance held in neighboring South Salem.
In Hillsboro, this year’s observance will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial on the west side of the Highland County Courthouse. Hillsboro VFW Post 9094 Commander Rick Wilkin said the city’s observance will essentially return to the way it was done before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s going to start at 10:30 the same as usual, and we’re going to have bleachers again this year — three sets like we did before COVID,” said Wilkin.
Vietnam veteran Stephen Murray is slated to be the keynote speaker with Wilkin serving as the master of ceremonies. There will be a table set up to honor POWs and MIAs.
“It’s going to be pretty much what it’s been in the past before COVID,” said Wilkin. “We’ll have a prayer, and hopefully we will have the mayor and the county commissioners present a proclamation, and we’ll do the Pledge of Allegiance and probably have a wreath laying.”
The flag will be raised at half-staff to mark the occasion. Patriotic music recorded by the Hillsboro High School band will be played during the ceremony as well as a vocal and flute performance by Diane Coffey and Jenny Harner, respectively.
The Highland County Veterans Honor Guard will fire a salute, and two local high school students will perform echo taps. Following the event, the honor guard will perform ceremonies at the Catholic and Hillsboro cemeteries to honor veterans interred there.
Sandwiches and tea will be served at the VFW post in Hillsboro following the ceremony. The entire event is open to the public.
In Greenfield, after suffering due to the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic the past couple years, the Memorial Day Parade is planned to be back in full swing.
Bruce Snavely, president of the Concerned Veterans of Greenfield, the organization that plans the event, said this year’s event should return to what has been done in the past. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. It will depart from the school colonnades on Fifth Street. Parade participants should be at the colonnades no later than 9:45 a.m.
This year’s parade grand marshal is Bob Ravenscraft, the oldest active member of the Concerned Veterans, Snavely said. The special speaker for the program at the cemetery following the parade will be Travis Snyder.
In Pricetown, an annual march to the Barker Cemetery will begin at 10 a.m. Monday. Pricetown Church of Christ Senior Minister Daryl Mount will present the message in the cemetery and Hugh “Bill” Setty will be the honored veteran. The annual program at the church will begin at 11 a.m. and will feature patriotic songs, pledges to the flags, the Gettysburg Address, a keynote presentation, and the honoring of all veterans. The traditional Quilts of Honor will also be presented.
The keynote presentation will be given by a group of high school students from the Pricetown area. They will focus on patriotism, the flag, the greatness of America, and remembering key events in the nation’s history.
The public is invited to attend all the events. Following the cemetery march and the church program, the annual community dinner will be served in the fellowship hall at the church beginning at noon. The meal is free to everyone and will be served until at least 1 p.m.
In South Salem, the annual parade will begin at 2 p.m. with those participating asked to line up behind Buckskin Elementary by 1:45 p.m. A program will be held in the South Salem Cemetery following the parade, where flowers arranged by the South Salem Garden Club will be laid upon the graves of veterans by children before the program begins.
The speaker will be Travis Snyder, a veteran and teacher at McClain High School. The Greenfield Middle School Band, local VFW and Concerned Veterans of Greenfield will be part of the program. Zoie Crabtree, a former Buckskin student and McClain High School graduate, will present the Pledge of Allegiance, and Eli Johnson, also a former Buckskin student and McClain graduate, will recite the Gettysburg Address.
“It’s a nice little community event,” said Sandy Free, who helps organize the activities.
Following those activities, the annual South Salem United Methodist Church Strawberry Social will be held. All food will be homemade. Donations will be accepted. The menu includes creamed chicken, ham sandwiches, green beans, potato salad, assorted cakes, strawberries, ice cream and drinks.
While Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, its true significance is as a day to remember those in the United States armed forces who have given their lives in service to the country.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.