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Coshocton Memorial Day service draws large crowd

| May 30, 2017
A Boy Scout is pictured placing a flag on the Coshocton Court Square as the name of a veteran who passed away in the last year was read during the Coshocton Memorial Day Service. Jen Jones | Beacon

A Boy Scout is pictured placing a flag on the Coshocton Court Square as the name of a veteran who passed away in the last year was read during the Coshocton Memorial Day Service. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – The weather was perfect as hundreds gathered on Main Street for the annual Coshocton Memorial Day Parade. Children lined the curb as they hoped for candy to be tossed their way. Flags were waving and many people were dressed in their best patriotic outfits.

The parade did not disappoint. Several local queens waved to the crowds as Boy Scout and 4-H groups tossed candy. The CHS Marching Band and Walhonding Rube Band provided lively music. The crowd stood in honor as a giant American flag was carried by members of the Elks Lodge.  Even small children stood with their hands over their hearts to honor the flag.

As the fire trucks blew their horns and flashed lights, the crowd began to move towards the court square, where a large flat bed truck was parked. Lawn chairs were placed in the shade as the crowd waited for the most important part of the day to begin – the Memorial Day Service to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our country.

Jim Barstow, Coshocton County Veterans Service Officer, welcomed the crowd and introduced Jim Shivers of the Trinity Episcopal Church to offer the invocation and ask for a moment of silence to remember our military, both fallen and those who are still serving. His prayer asked God to protect those still serving as well as offer strength to those families who have lost someone. The only sound was of his voice and the rustle of leaves.

After the CHS band played the National Anthem, Joe Scott and Barstow presented Jerimiah Mayle with a patriotic award, along with reading letters from Senator Jay Hottinger and Governor John Kasich to Mayle. Both letters commended him on his patriotism and the impact of his actions on his school, his community and his state. Mayle organized a petition at River View Junior High to ask that the students be allowed to say the Pledge of Allegiance each day. More than 200 students signed his petition and the Pledge is now said each morning. After the presentations, Mayle led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Barstow introduced representatives from Coshocton County Veterans organizations then asked Bryce Gibson, a seventh grader from Ridgewood to please read his essay on patriotism. His essay was dedicated to his great grandfather who he feels is his greatest hero because he served in the Navy.  Gibson’s essay reminded everyone that though our country may be facing many struggles, there is nothing that we can’t do and that we need to remember all of the fallen military persons because they are why we will prevail. He also asked that we stop thinking about the negative things about our country and only think about the good in people.

The featured speaker of the day was John Moon who served between July 1968 and July of 1970. Moon expressed his pride that so many people chose to spend the morning doing what the day truly means – to honor and remember those who died to give us freedom. He said people tend to forget what the day is about and think of it only as a day for sales or cookouts.

Moon reminded everyone that because those brave men and women paid the ultimate price, we are free to gather. He asked that the crowd consider that every person who fought for freedom still touches our lives today and will continue to touch lives for generations to come. All generations need to rededicate themselves to believing in a strong country because of those who came before us.

Moon closed his speech with comments to Coshocton, to veterans and to the veteran’s organizations. “My honor, my pride, my great deeds belong to you. I thank you very much.” The CHS choir sang an Armed Forces anthem and every veteran was asked to stand or raise his/her hand when the song from their branch was played.

The court square was silent as John and Carla Cullison, both Navy veterans, read the list of 70 names of veterans who have passed away since last Memorial Day.  After each name was read, a bell was rang, a balloon released and a flag placed in their honor on the court square. A memorial wreath was placed by Morgan Lawrence, Abbigail Nethers and Olivia Corder, nieces of Army Sgt First Class Paul Mardis, Jr.  He was a former Coshocton County resident who died on July 15, 2004 at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC.

The Coshocton County Honor Guard offered a gun salute to the fallen and “Taps” was played by CHS band members Jacob Heading and Bladen Johnson.

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