Keene Township proudly honors those who served and died

| May 31, 2022

Numerous individuals and families gathered together on May 29, in Keene to honor and remember those individuals who died serving this great country. Keene Township has held its Memorial Day Parade for 140 years, since 1882 as a matter of fact, making it the second longest standing Memorial Day celebration in the state of Ohio.

The day began with a worship service held at Keene United Methodist Church. Paula Marbury, reverend of Keene United Methodist Church led the congregation in this invocation: “O God, we give You praise for the people who have allowed us to serve and worship You in freedom. We do not take it for granted. We understand that there are millions of Christians around the world afraid of prison or even death because of what they believe. Our veterans are a significant reason why we do not fear, and we thank You for them…” Children were later invited to the front of the church to get red carnations to pass out to those in the congregation that are veterans or actively serving; there were approximately 21 service men and women standing.

During the worship service, Kelly Treat, a resident of Keene Township, sang the song “Mercy,” and was joined later in the service by her sister and her niece, Amy and Grace Boyer in singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Larry Endsley had the privilege of introducing Raymond Tumblin, who served as a corporal in the United States Army during the Korean War from 1952-1954, as the grand marshall and presenting him with a plaque. Later Endsley had the honor of introducing the guest speaker, Larry Stoneburner.

Stoneburner was born in Coshocton County in 1941, is a 1958 graduate of Ridgewood High School, and was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy and a battalion surgeon with the United States Marine Corps in the Vietnam War. He presently resides in Bakersfield, California. Stoneburner shared a slide show of photos from his time in the service, including a picture of one of the weapons used during the war. He explained how the weapon saved his life because of its efficiency but also shared some regarding the horror it left in its wake. He continued on to say we have much better ways to defend ourselves these days. Stoneburner encouraged those in attendance to “Do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.”

Following the worship service, Keene United Methodist Church blessed the congregation with a lunch before people gathered outdoors in preparation of the 140th annual Keene Memorial Parade.

And, as with most things, it took the unity of a village to put on an exemplary celebration. Serving as the 2022 Keene Memorial Society Officers are Kent Arnold, president; Amanda Meiser, vice president; and secretary/treasurer, Sarah Jane Lindsey. Along with the memorial society, there were several individuals who helped make it possible to honor service men and women with the parade. The Yellow Jacket Motorcycle Club started the parade, along with Steve Fender and Friends providing the private plane flyover. Flag bearers were Doug Alford, Gib Reiss, Kenn Lowe and Keith Smith. The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office provided the parade escort.

Prayers leaders for the event were Rev. Paula Marbury, Galen Honabarger and John Hill. The 21 Gun Salute was performed by the Warsaw American Legion Post 634 and with taps being done by Cindy Kaiser and Jakob Eick. The Walhonding Rube Band livened up the parade with music. In addition, Kelly Treat and Grace Boyer sang. Paul DeWalt served as ice cream vendor, and videotaping the parade was Andrew Martin. Three Rivers Fire Department brought the fire truck, and parade cars, tractors and float wagons were supplied by Clark and Adam Daugherty, Stamper and Honabarger families, and the Antique Tractor Club.

It was the Keene Memorial Society who provided flowers for the cemeteries and veteran’s graves. Similarly, monument flowers were furnished by the families of Harry Cox, Clyde Hardesty and Rodney Renfrew. Tom Dile fashioned the Battlefield Cross Display that was on the platform of the sanctuary.

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