EATON — Communities across America – and Preble County – remembered those individuals who have lost their lives in service while protecting the nation’s freedoms during Memorial Day parades and ceremonies held last week.
The annual Memorial Day Parade and associated services were held in Eaton on Monday. May 30.
At the first stop on the traditional parade route, Eaton VFW Post 8066 Commander Bob Jolliff welcomed everyone to the brief ceremony at the Main Street Bridge, noting the purpose for the wreath presentation service at the bridge is to “honor the Navy men that were lost at sea, soldiers buried in unidentified graves and those missing in action.”
Rev. Lowell Spencer provided the invocation at both the bridge and at the Mound Hill Cemetery ceremony.
Nancy Hapner presented the wreath at the bridge. “On behalf of the Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I place this emblem of eternity,” Hapner began. “Thus, we immortalize the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have given their life on land, sea and in the air.”
The Eaton High School Band played the Navy Hymn at the bridge portion of the ceremony, and played the National Anthem and various military pieces at the cemetery.
Preble County Veteran Services Officer Keith Carr noted, “I just want to say what an honor it is to be here today and to help remember all the stories and the lessons that the warriors that have passed away, provided us and to think about everything that they’ve sacrificed for us.”
Guest speaker for the cemetery ceremony was Eaton Municipal Court Judge Ed Kalil.
“You can tell by my uniform I’m also a Scout leader,” Kalil said. “So being here is an honor on several different levels. When I was originally asked to say a few words, I took the advice of Larry Showalter, who told me to say a few things about Memorial Day — especially things that I didn’t know. Well, being a judge, he figured I’d know everything. I do not. I did some research on Memorial Day and found out that it was originally called ‘Decoration Day.’”
Kalil went on to share the history of Memorial Day, from its creation in New York in May 1866 to 1968 when the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which established Memorial Day on the last Monday in May beginning in 1971.
“In 1918, along with wearing poppies to celebrate the end of World War I, Memorial Day became a holiday to celebrate all of those who had given their life and service for every war not just for the Civil War, which is what it started out as,” Kalil said.
Local singing group Something Good performed, and Boy Scout Troop 78 performed a flag folding ceremony. The Preble County Honor Guard provided a 21 Gun Salute and played “Taps” to close the ceremony.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr