MOUNT GILEAD — The Mount Gilead Memorial Day Parade participants marched down Main Street Monday and proceeded to Rivercliff Cemetery despite record 93-degree heat.
The crowd along the route hugged the shade in the public square and by trees in the cemetery.
Tim Sharrock, U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict, welcomed the crowd. He thanked Boy Scouts of Troop 56 for placing 440 flags on veterans’ graves throughout the cemetery and recognized Color Guard Commander Daniel L. Fricke for 42 years with the color guard.
Speaker Lieutenant Colonel Mark Shoaf told about his experience as commander of an honor guard. He is a Mount Gilead High School graduate and recently retired after 36 years of military service in the Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard. He is currently Professor of Management and Economics at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University.
Shoaf spoke of the powerful emotion he felt as he worked in charge of the honor guard at the Mansfield air base. He painted a picture of the careful thought and details that go into the veterans’ memorial services.
Shoaf described the overwhelming and moving moment as he knelt and presented the flag to the widow or family member of the veteran.
“Then as ‘Taps’ are played the sound and emotion is something you feel through your whole body,” said Shoaf.
Following Shoaf’s speech, Pastor Jeff Canankamp read the roll call of 82 local veterans who died in wars beginning with World War I, and subsequent wars and conflicts.
The Mount Gilead High School Marching Band played the National Anthem before the rifle salute by the firing squad that included: Tom Graham, Harlen Park, Bill Mills, Frank Moore, Steve Montel and Richard Braddock who are members of the Nelson E. Campbell, Jr. V.F.W. Post 8054. Members of the Mt. Gilead AMVETS Post 87 include: Gary Dilsaver, Alan Forry, Sam Beal, Mike McKinney, Duane Rinehart, Jerry Jagger, Brenda Harden, Gary Baker, Chad Remy and Jim Bruns.
The crowd was silent as ‘Taps’ played with a haunting echo by MGHS band members Branson Brooke and Tyler Jones.