DARKE COUNTY – Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War with each region having its own date, but most were held in May.
By the 20th century, Memorial Day been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars; thus the day is set aside to remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
With this special weekend approaching, a number of churches and cemeteries across the county are planning events to observe the holiday.
Teegarden Congregational Christian Church, between Ansonia and Union City, will be having a Memorial Day service on Sunday at 10 a.m. The Ansonia American Legion will have a memorial service and Pastor Eric Knight will be speaking at the event.
Memorial Day services at Abbottsville Cemetery in Van Buren Township and at Ithaca Cemetery in Twin Township are also set for Sunday. The service at Abbottsville will start at 1 p.m. and the one at Ithaca Cemetery will begin at 2 p.m. Participating at both will be Greenville High School NJROTC members and Arcanum High School band members. The addresses will be presented by Larry Harter, member of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Pitsburg.
Memorial Day services at Oak Grove Cemetery in Fort Jefferson, too, will be at noon on Sunday, The Laroy Farst Post 245 of the American Legion of New Madison will present the colors. Special music will be provided by Julie Lemon of Greenville High School and Jeff Mayo of Ansonia High School. The memorial wreath will be placed by the New Madison Cub Scout Troop #149. The invocation and benediction will be given by Rev. Doug Baker, and the guest speaker will be David Hackney, a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, and an Army Reservist. In case of rain, the service will be held at the Fort Jefferson United Methodist Church.
Liberty Township will hold Memorial Day services on Monday. At 10 a.m., parade participants will travel from the center of the village to the Palestine Cemetery where Joe Hanna will be the speaker. At 11 a.m., there will be a service at Clemens Cemetery with speaker Scott Ritz. The Tri-Village school band, the Hollansburg American Legion Color Guard and Troop 96 Boy Scouts will also be participating in the ceremonies.
Stelvideo Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Stelvideo Christian Church. Eric Wagner, who is serving in the U.S. Navy, will be the honored speaker. Music will be provided by the Stelvideo Church band conducted by David Bloomfield. Services will be concluded at 2 p.m. at the Stelvideo Cemetery. American Legion Post 140 will conduct the service.
Memorial Day services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Versailles. The two veterans organizations – Versailles Post 435 and Versailles Post 3849 Veterans of Foreign Wars, will have charge of the parade and the patriotic services in Greenlawn Cemetery. The parade will form at 10 a.m. at the Vets Club at the corner of South Center and West Wood streets on State Route 185, then north on Center Street to Main Street to the corner of West Street, north to Greenlawn Avenue, then west to Greenlawn Cemetery. At the cemetery, the senior high and junior high schools band will march in the parade under the direction of Kevin Taylor. The parade will pause at Swamp Creek Bridge with dedication of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge by Mayor Jeff Subler. Flower girls will cast flowers into the creek on the downstream side. A prayer will be read and the firing squad will salute the squad. Featured at the cemetery will be the decoration of the Memorial Cross, which represents the deceased veterans of all American wars, including peacetime veterans. Staff Sgt. Tony Baker will be the guest speaker at the memorial service.
Memorial Day services will be conducted at Hollansburg Cemetery by the Hollansburg American Legion Post 708 on Monday at 1 p.m. Delbert Braund of New Madison and Darke County Veterans Services will be the speaker. Tri-Village’s school band will play.
Greenville Cemetery’s Memorial Day services will begin at 1 p.m. Monday. The program, under the auspices of Erk Cottell Post No. 140 American Legion, Greenville Memorial Post 7252 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Darke County Chapter No. 57, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), will get underway at the bridge on North Broadway, featuring a salute to the Navy. Grand marshal of the parade will be Alfred L. Henry of Versailles. The parade will proceed to the cemetery, where there will be a selection by the Greenville Senior High School band. John C. Brumbaugh, past commander of the VFW, will serve as master of ceremonies and the Rev. Sam Hoeflich will give the invocation. Chad Denman, cadet ensign Navy Junior ROTC Unit, will give Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, while Joseph Lenhart, past state commander of the Department of Ohio DAV, will give the memorial address. Memorial and decoration of soldiers’ monument will be done by the veterans organizations and auxiliaries and firing squad. The band will play the National Anthem, and Hoeflich will give the benediction.
The Memorial Day service at the Gettysburg Cemetery will be held Monday at 2:30 p.m. The Memorial Day address will be given by the Rev. Robert Bitner, retired chaplain, Brethren Retirement Community. Others participating in the service will be Gettysburg Mayor Jason Lance, the Greenville High School band, Joseph Helfrich and the Versailles Color Guard. In case of rain, the service will be held in the Bible Holiness Church, corner of Clay and Corwin streets in Gettysburg.
The Memorial Day parade in Union City will be Monday. The parade lineup will be at 9:30 a.m. at Old National Bank. The parade starts at 10 a.m. with services at Union City Cemetery at 11 a.m. The American Legion’s annual barbecue chicken dinners will be served after the Memorial Day service.
Memorial Day services will be conducted in Monroe and Franklin townships on June 3. Services at Newcomers Cemetery in Franklin Township will be at 1 p.m. and the services at Mote Cemetery in Monroe Township will be at 2 p.m.