Those who gave all were honored Monday in both a ceremony at Pine Street Cemetery and the Memorial Day Parade and Program in downtown Gallipolis.
Members of the local Cadot-Blessing Camp #126 SUVCW held its Memorial Day ceremony at 9 a.m. this morning at Pine Street ceremony due to the number of Civil War graves.
Retired Colonel Bob Wetterstroem served as the keynote speaker for the Gallipolis Memorial Day Ceremony in the Gallipolis City Park, which took place immediately following the parade. John Thomas, executive director and service officer of the Gallia County Veterans Service Center opened the ceremony with a reminder about what Memorial Day is all about.
“Memorial Day is a day we set aside to remember with gratitude and pride all of those who served and died for this country and our freedom,” said Thomas. “May your day be filled with memories and peace and God Bless America.”
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem performed by the River Valley High School Show Choir and the invocation delivered by Pastor John Jackson, Thomas recognized local leaders who serve in local veterans organizations. The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary placed a memorial wreath at the Doughboy, which is placed to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Wetterstroem opened his speech with a discussion about the importance of the Veterans Service Commissions and how they helped his family and with a personal story about Pastor Jackson, who he served with, and Jackson’s rattlesnake hunting skills.
“I am absolutely amazed at the spirit and the number of people and organizations involved with this today,” he told the crowd, commenting on the beauty of the City Park and its memorials.
During his speech, Wetterstroem discussed the history of Memorial Day.
Listen to highlights from his speech below.
In addition to the National Anthem, the River Valley Show Choir performed several patriotic songs.
Gary Fenderbosch, president of the Veterans Service Commission, read the names of the75 local veterans who had passed away since the last Memorial Day ceremony.
The ceremony ended with a benediction by Pastor Jackson and a salute by the Honor Guard and the playing of Taps.