• 59°

Navy Night to kick off Memorial Day events

The Rev.

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

The Rev. David Schug will give the invocation at 7 p.m. Thursday night, beginning the annual Navy Night service – the first in several ceremonies marking the county’s Memorial Day holiday.

"It’s our kickoff of our remembrance of all the men and women who have given their time and talents to protect our great country," said Judge Richard Walton, master of ceremonies at Navy Night.

"This is especially true for those who have died in the service of their country on the sea."

After the invocation, the VFW Post 8850 will post the colors and the Rock Hill High School Band and the Lawrence County Ecumenical Choir will perform the "Star Spangled Banner."

Distinguished guest for the evening will be Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams. Speaker will be David McCown, Lt. JG, U.S. Navy veteran and attorney.

The evening’s service will be dedicated to honoring all seagoing services, said Jim Adkins of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee, who’s in charge of Navy Night.

"To me, it’s the honoring of those branches and showing respect for the many sailors," Adkins said.

When "Taps" is played and the Coast Guard drops the memorial wreath into the Ohio River, it’s a difficult moment emotionally but full of honor for those who gave of themselves, he said.

Whether soldiers in the Merchant Marines, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines or Army personnel who died at seas, they are all remembered Thursday night, Walton said.

"They may be gone but they’re not forgotten."

Music during the Navy Night service will include "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Lift Every Voice and Sing," "Amazing Grace," "Semper Paratus," "Anchors Aweigh," "God Bless America" and the "Navy Hymn."

And, just before the gunnery salute by the VFW Post 8850, Girl Scouts will cast flower petals upon the river.

Veterans, band members, area residents and others will line up shortly before 7 p.m. on Center Street near Fourth for a short march to the riverfront.

Adkins said he hopes to see many people from Ironton and surrounding communities there.

"It would be nice if the citizens would come out and show their respects and enjoy the services," he said. "I think too many people have forgotten what Memorial Day services are about."