Navy Night Memorial Service honors fallen sailors

Published 11:42 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

By Terry L. Hapney, Jr.
The Ironton Tribune

“To memorialize those at sea who have given their lives…may their memory never fade from our minds.”
Chad Pemberton’s words of invocation and benediction opened and closed the annual Navy Night Memorial Service at the Center Street Landing on the Ohio River in downtown Ironton.
Boy Scouts Troop 106 provided the flag-folding ceremony. David M. Lucas, Ph.D., scoutmaster, provided an explanation—to the large crowd in attendance—the significance of each fold made to the American Flag.
“Troop 106 will proudly fold the flag in a ceremony that has become part of our tradition,” Lucas said. “Troop 106…is officially 94 years old.”
The Honorable Charles Cooper, retired Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge, served as master of ceremonies at the event. Cooper recognized veterans and special guests, including those who are commanding the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade this year—Grand Marshal Ron Thomas, Honorary Grand Marshal Judge Patricia Sanders, and Parade Commander Ray Jones. Cooper also welcomed Common Pleas Judge Christen Finley who attended.
“It’s nice to have such a large group here this evening,” Cooper said. “We’re not afraid of the weather!”
Ironton Mayor Sam Cramblit presented a proclamation, thanking everyone for attending the kickoff to a weekend remembering “those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
The keynote speaker, Lieutenant Commander Sean DuLaney of the U.S. Navy, during his first time attending Navy Night, provided historical highlights of the Ironton area, including the use of “the rich iron ore content in the land nearby…which was used by eight countries for their warships and also by the U.S.”
DuLaney told the crowd to “remember your friends.” He said they were “your friends whether you knew them or not.”
“They died…to give…you the chance to raise families, build careers and carry the torch of freedom,” DuLaney said.
DuLaney thanked each veteran in attendance for their service. He thanked their families for the support. He also thanked everyone for remembering those who gave their lives for “the spark of freedom” in this world.”
Members of Troop 106 placed the Memorial Wreath into the Ohio River. Lucas said this is “a memorial to those who have passed.”
“We could never honor them too much,” Lucas said. “We could fold 100 flags and throw 100 wreaths and never repay the debt that we owe to those who paid the ultimate price.”
Ironton VFW Post 8850 posted the colors at the beginning of the service, as well as provided the gunnery salute, “Taps,” and the dismissing of colors at the conclusion. The Rock Hill-Ironton High School Brass Band played the “National Anthem,” as well as other patriotic tunes during the event.

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