EATON — The City of Eaton held its annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony on Monday, May 27. The day brought veterans and families together to honor those who gave their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. It was a day of remembrance and thanks, as the city took time to honor those lost over the years.
First, the parade stopped at the West Main Street Bridge for a wreath ceremony honoring those who were never brought home to their families.
“The purpose of the ceremony this morning is to honor those sailors lost at sea, soldiers buried in unidentified graves, and those missing in action,” VFW Post 8066 Commander Bradley Bush said.
Patty Parks, with the VFW Auxiliary, presented the wreath, which was tossed below the bridge, into the water.
“On behalf of the Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I place this emblem of eternity. It’s color bespeaks life everlasting, thus do we immortalize the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have given their lives on land, sea, and in the air,” Parks said.
Next, the parade continued to the soldier memorial at Mound Hill cemetery.
American Legion Post 215 Commander Jim Favorite welcomed those in attendance and introduced honored guests, including Preble County Commissioners and Eaton Mayor Gary Wagner and Eaton City Council.
Pastor Lowell Spencer gave the opening benediction. Eaton High School Band led the crowd in the National Anthem and performed a medley of military tunes.
Favorite read a selection (which he did not write) entitled “Just a Common Soldier.”
“The ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife, goes off to serve his country and offers up his life? While the ordinary Soldier, who offered up his all, is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small,” Favorite read.
“Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand, would you really want somebody with his ever waffling stand? Or would you want a soldier hi home, his country, his kin, just a common soldier, who would fight until the end.
“He was just a common soldier, and his ranks are growing thin, but his presence should remind us we may need his likes again. For when countries are in conflict, we find the soldier’s past is to clean up all the troubles that the world may start.
“If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise, then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days. Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say: ‘Our country is in mourning, a soldier died today.’
“Pass on the patriotism! You can make a difference. If you are proud of our Vets, then thank them. You’ll be glad you did. His tales became a joke, all his buddies listened quietly for they knew where of he spoke. But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for Ol’ Joe has passed away, and the world’s a littler poorer for a soldier died today.
“He won’t be mourned by many, just his children and his wife, for he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life. He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way; and the wold won’t note his passing, tho’ a soldier died today.
“When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state, while thousands note their passing, and proclaim that they were great. Papers tell of their life stories from the time that they were young, but the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed, and unsung. Is this the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land.”
The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 215 and VFW Auxiliary Post 8066 presented wreaths, followed by Something Good performing a medley of songs. Boy Scouts of America Troop 78 presented their Flag Folding Ceremony. The Preble County Honor Guard did the 21-Gun Salute, followed by the playing of Taps.
Receptions were held at both the American Legion and VFW Posts.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH