The Town of Walkersville held its annual Veterans Day Service on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at Memorial Park in town. Town Commissioner Don Schildt, Sr., who organizes the annual event, observed during his welcoming remarks that it was the largest turn-out for the event. In fact, the entire intersection of Five Corners was filled to standing room only for the event.
The Boy Scouts served as the Color Guard and all joined in the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem, “Star Spangled Banner” as the Yellow Spring Band played the tune.
The U.S. Military Veterans Motorcycle Club retired the old flag flying at Memorial Park. In true military practice, they quickly raised the new flag with honor.
Dave Smith, U.S. Navy Veteran, and Arthur Leveronne, U.S. Marine Corp Veteran, ceremoniously layed a wreath in the park.
Burgess Chad Weddle dedicated the new Veterans Wall, and thanked all involved in planning and building the wall.
Town officials then presented a rose to each family whose loved one gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.
U.S. Marine Corp and Vietnam War Veteran, Jack McLean spoke to the crowd about his service and being a veteran. Mr. McLean, a native of Summit, New Jersey, discussed the life-long friendships he made during his service, including that with Walkersville resident, Ron Layman. Mr. McLean served as an infantry corporal with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1967-1968. He subsequently became the first Vietnam veteran admitted to Harvard University, entering during the tempestuous fall of 1968 days after his return from combat. He wrote the bestseller, Loon: A Marine Story, which was published in 2010. His next book will be published next year.
The crowd joined the Yellow Springs Band in singing “God Bless America.”
Walkersville resident Tom Gilbert gave a history of the Walkerville Kiwanis and its contributions to the town. Disbanded in 2001, the Kiwanis provided a lot to Walkersville. Of note for the service, Kiwanis built Memorial Park and organized the first ceremonies there. Mr. Gilbert read Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag” with great emotion as he discussed Kiwanis’ role in replacing the flag at Memorial Park as needed in the past.
Town Commissioner Gary Baker read a poem, “I Know You” which recognizes and thanks Vietnam Veterans for their service and all they endured both in the battlefied and returning to a country that did not honor their service at the time.
Brent Girard, a representative of Congressman and Senator-Elect Chris Van Hollen, presented Mr. McLean with a proclamation thanking him for his service to our country, and a flag that was flown above the Capitol Building.
Town Commissioner Russ Winch read a “What is a Veteran.”
Veterans from all branches of the military were observed and thanked by the town, as the Yellow Springs Band played the official song of each branch. The Army made the largest showing of veterans honored. Town officials gave veterans a license plate holder and thanked each one. Children from Walkersville Day Care gave every veteran a flag.
John Grimes, owner of Grimes Graphics on Biggs Ford Road, sang and performed “Angel Flight.”
Town Commissioners presented Peggy Schildt, wife of Commissioner Don Schildt, Sr., with a flower arrangement.
Woodsboro American Legion Post 282’s Honor Guard provided a 21-Gun Salute and Millard Haines played “Taps” as the Boy Scouts retired the Colors. The American Legion invited everyone to come to their facility in Woodsboro for light refreshments.