Monday’s sunny weather would have been a perfect for a parade and services on Memorial Day to honor veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
But, 2020 is like no other and coronavirus concerns canceled large gatherings. However it didn’t stop small city and community ceremonies that were viewed through social media.
Fairfield first responders held a mini vehicle parade in the city honoring local veterans and Gold Star families. Weaths were also placed at the Veterans Memorial and a short service was streamed on the city’s Facebook page. In West Chester Twp. VFW Post 7696 held a ceremony at West Chester Cemetery where veterans’ grave sites were marked with flags.
Hamilton’s Memorial Day services were streamed live from the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument on High Street were Mayor Pat Moeller was master of ceremonies.
“On this Memorial Day we remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us and for their fellow military brothers and sisters, Moeller said, then a noted the names of service men from Butler County who died in many wars and conflict.
Hamilton Police Chaplain Frank Smith, a retired Butler County Sheriff’s detective, said “This is a day that we gather at the final resting areas of so many men and women who have served and died for this country … this is a day that we pause and reflect on our blessings as a nation and the high cost that has been paid for those blessings by our military.”
In the memorial address, U.S. Air Force veteran Ken Calihan urged veterans to get involved in veterans organizations and encouraged graduating seniors to consider the armed forces.
“I used to think you served your country, you got out and you moved on … but when you get out of the armed forces, you are only getting started. You are a veteran forever and no one can ever take that away from you.”
Remembering on Memorial Day is only “a small token of gratitude compared to what they gave to us.”
The ceremony was followed by a laying of a wreath at the base of the memorial. Volunteers flagging veterans graves in Hamilton cemeteries.
The Middletown Parades committee led the way to create a virtual service at Woodside Cemetery where veterans’ grave sites were also marked by flags.
Middletown Mayor Nicole Condrey, a widow of a Navy veteran, served as speaker asking everyone watch to take a deep breath.
“Fill your lungs with the air of freedom. Fill your lungs with the early air that fallen heroes can no longer breath,” Condrey said. “I do this everyday for my husband.”