Hundreds expected for Navy Night

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Each year, Lawrence Countians gather on the Ohio riverfront to remember and honor those who served their country in the seagoing services: the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

The annual Navy Night service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Center Street Boat landing.

“If you have ever had a loved one who served their country, or ever had a friend in service, then you want to attend,” Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee member Bob Blankenship said.

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This year’s speaker will be Harold Spears, who is a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, parade committee member and past grand marshal. He is also a former Lawrence County Prosecutor and former Lawrence County Juvenile Probate Judge.

Blankenship said Spears’ service to his country and his decades of community service in the years that followed make him an excellent choice for keynote speaker.

“He’s an outstanding person, a good citizen,” Blankenship said of Spears. “He served his country honorably in World War II.”

Last year more than 200 people attended the riverfront event. Organizers are anticipating a crowd of 300 this year.

“We encourage people to come and support our veterans,” Blankenship said.

Other memorial services include the annual Woodland Cemetery Service at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The 138th annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade will be Monday at 10 a.m. More than 4,000 people are expected to march in the procession.

More than 20,000 are likely to watch from the sidelines. It is the nation’s oldest continuous Memorial Day Parade in the nation.