Champaign County observes Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) as a national holiday to honor, mourn and pay tribute to U.S. military personnel who have died in the line of duty.
Their families and our community will observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials, attending services and participating in parades. Some also observe the tradition of flying the United States flag at half-staff from dawn until noon.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Vice President of Our Town St. Paris, Joseph Curran, is the organizer of St. Paris’s special service on Monday, May 29 at 9:30 a.m. at Harmon Park.
He explained, “The Memorial Day service begins with the flag-raising ceremony and then the Graham High School Band bugler will play ‘To The Colors.’” He added, “The invocation will be given by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Mike Miller, pastor of the Madison Ave. Church of God in Piqua and this year’s keynote speaker is U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division combat veteran Jared Shank, renowned local historian.”
Shank says, “On Memorial Day I will be remembering those lost through telling local stories about U.S. military members from St. Paris.” Curran will deliver the closing remarks, followed by the closing ceremony. Graham’s band bugler will play “Taps” at the end of the ceremony, followed by patriotic songs played by the band.
Curran requested active-duty service members and reservists to wear Class A uniforms. Members of veterans’ organizations should wear their covers. All other veterans should wear their “gear” of T-shirts, hats and jackets commemorating their service.
The Urbana Memorial Day Celebration is Monday, May 29 at 10:45 a.m. at Soldiers’ Mound of the Oak Dale Cemetery. The master of ceremonies this year is Captain Daniel Cox, West Point 1997, Vice Commander VFW 5451 in Urbana.
Cox says, “We are honored to have Air Force Master Sergeant (Retired) Bob Hemmerly, supervisory logistics manager at Wright Patterson Air Force Base as our keynote speaker.” Hemmerly grew up in Forest, Ohio and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force shortly after graduating from Riverdale High School in 1977. He served in Washington, Michigan, England, Texas, New Jersey, and Illinois as well as temporary duty locations around the world as an aircraft maintenance superintendent retiring from active service in 1999 as a Master Sergeant. He maintained and led airmen maintaining avionics systems and general aircraft maintenance on a variety of cargo, bomber, attack, and reconnaissance aircraft during the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. Hemmerly has a combined 46 years of military and civilian service. He is a life member of DAV Chapter 31 and VFW Post 5451 in Urbana. A special airplane flyover is also planned for that morning, depending on weather conditions.
There is a 9 a.m. Memorial Day service in Woodstock that will be held at the Woodstock Cemetery on May 29. Woodstock will not have a parade. The special service is presented by the Mechanisburg Legion Post 238. The keynote speaker will be Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio. In addition, there will be patriotic songs played by the Triad High School Band. A breakfast will be held at Woodstock Community Church on May 29 starting at 8 a.m. For more information, contact the church.
North Lewisburg begins its Memorial Day special activities with a parade. Those interested in participating in the parade should gather at 9:45 a.m. in North Lewisburg at Carter Garage. The parade starts at 10 a.m. Following the parade is a service at the monument at 10:30 a.m. The keynote speaker will be Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio and the patriotic music will be performed by the Triad High School Band.
Mechanicsburg’s Memorial Day events begin with the parade. Participants are asked to gather at 12:30 p.m. at Heritage Country Store in Mechanicsburg. The parade starts at 1 p.m. The Memorial Day special service sponsored by Mechanicsburg Legion Post 238 will be held at the Maple Grove Cemetery at 1:30 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Champaign County Judge Nick Selvaggio and the Mechanicsburg High School Band will provide patriotic songs.
West Liberty’s Memorial Day parade will take place at 2 p.m. on May 29 and the special service will follow. West Columbus Street is the starting point and the town hall is the ending point of the parade. The keynote speaker will be Shelley Kneece and the parade will proceed to the Fairview Cemetery. A service will be provided by Woodard-McGovern Post 426 American Legion.
Christiansburg Memorial Day Parade and Service are on May 29. Participants are asked to line up at 11 a.m. in the Christiansburg Municipal Building Park, 115 W. 2nd St. The parade begins at 11:30 a.m. and it will feature the Graham High School Band playing patriotic songs. There will be a service at Smith Cemetery after the parade.
The Memorial Day parade and services in Terre Haute are on Sunday, May 28 beginning at 2 p.m. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and the services follow in the Terre Haute Cemetery. The keynote speaker this year will be Jared Shank, local historian and U.S. veteran who served in Afghanistan. Buzzy Moore, the Champaign County veterans’ services officer, will conduct the service.
Reach the writer at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com