Butler County Memorial Day parade returns after two-year hiatus

The Hamilton Fire Department Honor Guard leads the city’s 2016 Memorial Day parade down High Street. FILE PHOTO

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The Hamilton Fire Department Honor Guard leads the city’s 2016 Memorial Day parade down High Street. FILE PHOTO

Father and son are marshals.

Ohio Air National Guard veteran Kevin Childress has been the Memorial Day parade marshal for the Butler County Memorial Committee since 2020.

On Monday, he’ll finally be able to lead the parade, and he’ll be able to do it with his son, Capt. Brian Childress, an adjunct with the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group in Quantico, Va.

The last parade was held in 2019.

“It feels like a great honor,” Kevin Childress said. “We can’t control COVID, but it’s a great honor to do it, especially with my son.”

Butler County Veterans Memorial Committee Chairman Michael Cupp has known both Kevin and Brian Childress, and decided to have the father-son co-parade marshal “because I could.”

“I thought it would be neat to have a father and a son as co-parade marshals,” he said.

Brian Childress called it “a big honor.”

“We need to remember the veterans that gave their all before us, and it’s really my honor,” he said. “It really is.”

And being alongside his dad, the 2003 Lakota West graduate said, “I’m just happy to do it.”

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Brian Childress one of the co-marshals for the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

Brian Childress one of the co-marshals for the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

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Brian Childress one of the co-marshals for the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

Trips home had been rare in his 17-year Marine Corps career until he was assigned to Quantico in 2019. Before that, it was difficult to visit home because of his job and the distance to travel.

When Brian Childress told his father that he wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps, his father was nothing but supportive.

Kevin Childress, originally from Harrison, first enlisted in the Navy in August 1982. He spent six years at the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was released in 1989, but his career in the military wasn’t over.

In August 1989, he served as a staff sergeant in the Ohio Air National Guard, a reserve of the Air Force, and worked on KC135 tank engines.

“It was something that I always wanted to do,” he said. “My father did 22 years in the Navy and retired. I wanted to work around airplane aircraft, and that’s what I did in the Navy.”

Kevin Childress said enlisting in the Marine Corps was the best thing his son ever did and is excited that they can share this honor together.

“It makes me very happy,” he said. “It’s nice to have some recognition to an active duty [American] Legion member, and I was very happy for that.”

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Kevin Childress is one of the co-marshals of the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

Kevin Childress is one of the co-marshals of the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

Combined ShapeCaption
Kevin Childress is one of the co-marshals of the parade. // CONTRIBUTED

Brian Childress said he doesn’t know what to expect at the ceremony following the parade, but like many in the military, he’ll be prepared.

“I’m in front of people all the time with my job,” he said. “I got a little speech prepared, I don’t know if that’s still expected of me. If they ask me, I have a very neutral speech. It’s about the veterans.”

Brian Childress enlisted in 2005, two years after graduation, because of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“I was a junior in high school when that sparked my interest,” said the 37-year-old married father of a 14-year-old son. “I came in at the bottom and worked my way up to staff sergeant, then I became an officer in ‘15.”

He went to officer school because of the influential leaders in his career. “I just thought I could make a positive influence and enact some positive change in the service.”

The Butler County Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10 a.m. on South Monument and travels east on Court Street, then east on High Street, north on Seventh Street, and then east on Heaton Street to Greenwood Cemetery. The Memorial Day ceremony is set for 11:15 a.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, 1602 Greenwood Ave.


BUTLER COUNTY MEMORIAL DAY PARADE ROUTE

The Butler County Memorial Day Parade lineup starts at 9 a.m. Monday on South Monument Avenue and Court Street. There is a Laying of Wreath at the Soldiers, Sailors, Pioneers Monument, also at 9 a.m. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. on South Monument and travels east on Court Street, then east on High Street, north on Seventh Street, and then east on Heaton Street to Greenwood Cemetery.

A Memorial Day ceremony will be at 11:15 a.m., which will feature a program and music.