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Memorial Day Services Honor Fallen Heroes

Daily Globe Staff Reporter

SHELBY - Monday's Memorial Day parade and ceremony was one of Mayor Steve Schag's most memorable, he told the large crowd at Shelby's Oakland Cemetery.

This year's parade and ceremony included two dozen World War II Veterans from Shelby - the eldest 98 years old; the youngest 89. For some of them, it was the first parade they had ever been in.

The WWII Veterans were escorted to the cemetery in Jeeps provided by local dealers. The invocation was read by Pastor Kevin Evans of Liberty Baptist Church. Boy Scout Troop #406 performed the flag raising. Guest speaker Lt. Col. Steve McLaughlin explained the symbolic flag raising.

"The flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. This includes approximately 89 soldiers that called Shelby home. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifices be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all," McLaughlin explained.

The Shelby High School Band under the direction of Mrs. Lisa Baker played the Star Spangled Banner, and The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Dowds Second grade students Laura Dick, Ferron Pena and Dawson Gove.

After the traditional symbolic placing of the wreaths, names of newly deceased Veterans were recited by Linda Fichter, coordinator of the event.

A Tribute to the Veteran, a poem written by Linda Close Swanger, was read by recent Shelby High School graduate Andy Robinson, and fellow grad Brittney Alfrey read the Story Behind the Poppy. Voice of Democracy Essay winner Kane Wagner read his essay describing how he came to realize the price of freedom.

McLaughlin spoke on the terror of war, "Every Memorial Day, I reflect on my tours of duty in the Middle East and I think of the men and women that I saw returning home in flag draped coffins. I would always feel great sadness by the loss...Each Memorial Day I give thanks to God for his many blessings, for this great country, and for the many heroes who paid the ultimate price so that we may live in freedom!"

Wrapping up the ceremony were the SHS band and Mellowettes Rachel Baker, Marilyn Day, Baylie White, Abby Lybarger and Allie Uplinger with God Bless America, followed by the benediction by Evans, who read the Gettysburg Address.

The 21 gun salute led by Mic Hubbard was preceded by Taps, played by Morgan Hummel.

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