NEW PARIS — Joining many other communities in the days leading up to the holiday, the Village of New Paris celebrated Memorial Day with a parade and ceremony on Saturday, May 27.
The parade featured many local organizations who marched down into Spring Lawn Cemetery for a service officiated by Ronald Delk.
The day’s events were organized by Amerian Legion Auxilary Clarence Teaford Post 360.
Parade participants included, but were not limited to: Preble County Honor Guard, National Trail Marching Band, National Trail FFA, Dire Skates Roller Derby, Adorn Clothing Ministry, Girl Scouts, Preble County Council on Aging, National Trail Prom King and Queen, and many others.
The main speaker for the event was Joan Steinberger. She shared the history of New Paris and the various wars. She said, “Today I’m going to talk about the reason we are here. It is not totally because of our parents. It’s mainly because of our United States veterans of all our wars. This year, we are marking the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I. Many of our young men were required by law to serve in this operation.
“The Conscription Act of 1863 was the nation’s first compulsory military service law. The Selective Service Act of 1917 was the basis of the draft for World War I. The Selective Service Training Act of 1940 was the basis of conscription of World War II, making men between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for the draft. The Selective Service Act of 1948 and the Military Training Act of 1951 was effected in the Korean Conflict and as amended in Vietnam.
“The sometimes violent attacks by protesters on local draft boards and the flight of registered persons to foreign places prompted President [Richard] Nixon to propose the elimination of the peacetime draft with the professional all volunteer army. Congress permitted the Selective Service Act to lapse in June, 1973. Which now no longer exists. It’s all volunteers.
“One of the casualties of World War I is significant to our Village of New Paris. His name is Clarence Teaford, afterm who our American Legion Post 360 is named. Clarence was a Caucasian born in 1891 in Savona, Ohio. Records show his parents were deceased and when he was a 15-year-old boy he was declared a delinquent in juvenile court. He was taken to the Lancaster Reform Farm in May 1907.
“In October of 1914 when he was 22 years old he enlisted in the United States Army Infantry and went to France as a member of the rainbow division. Clarence was listed as missing in action on Sept. 7, 1918. He was pronounced killed in action on July 18, 1918 with the rank of private first class. His death notification was received by his uncle of New Paris, where he claimed his residence. Clarence served our country and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. He is buried in an American cemetery in France.”
Steinberger then shared names of those from New Paris who served in all wars. She continued, “A century later we have experienced many wars declared and undeclared, including: World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Gulf War, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Thousands of our young men have been engaged in these battles and have given their lives and their limbs for our country. Many are continuing to serve today. These are our heroes. We commemorate their service to our country on this day and every Nov. 11, now known as Veterans Day.
“Many of us have had fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts who served during peace times or one of the various wars in which we have been involved. Some of them may have suffered wounds or casualties. So you are aware of the high price our veterans have paid. Because of our brave military, the recent conflicts have been kept from our immediate shores. We owe them our gratitude and our respect.
“The United States have not had to suffer the destruction of highways, bridges, airports, train stations, hospitals, schools, power plants, and homes, to say nothing of lives lost. The nearest event is 9/11, and we all remember that day. During that event, we lost a different type of veteran. We lost veterans of the fire and police departments, who also protect us and our freedoms.
“Our veterans, without their courage to give up a slice of their lives to join the branch of our military knowing they might never return home. Without their patriotism that consists of their pride and love for our country, without their faith in the policies of our country and a higher power then themselves, without their strength to act in the face of certain danger and possible dismemberment or even death. Without our soldiers, sailors, marines, air force, Fourth Guard, and National Guard our country would be less safe.
“Without our veterans, we possibly would not be able to enjoy our freedom to gripe about our country, our president, our congress, the governor of our state, state legislators, our mayor, and village council, or maybe even the weather without fear of incarceration or worse,” Steinberger said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH