Several hundred people gathered in Berryville’s Rose Hill Park for the annual Clarke County Memorial Day Service to remember those who served and sacrificed for our country. This year’s program did not include the customary keynote speaker. Instead, various re-enactors in period clothing representing all eras of our country’s history provided the program. In spite of the early summer heat, it was a beautiful day and service.
As the crowd gathered, the Clarke County High School Band, directed by Mark Curry, and the Clarke County High School Chorus, directed by Dr. Ryan Keebaugh, provided a prelude and postlude of patriotic music. The band and chorus also performed several songs during the program. Boy Scout Troop 34 and the Civil Air Patrol’s Winchester Composite Squadron passed out programs and bottle water and programs to the spectators.
Greg Canterbury, in Revolutionary War attire, welcomed everyone and gave a brief history of Memorial Day. The colors were posted by the James Wood Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. George Washington, portrayed by Don De Haven, lead the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. John Hudson accompanied by Joe Leach portraying Abraham Lincoln read the Gettysburg Address.
In recognition of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Terry Heder from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation described the activities that would be held at various local battlefields this year. He was accompanied by several re-enactors in Confederate and Union clothing.
Houston Wedlock, a Buffalo Soldier re-enactor, told the story of the Buffalo Soldiers and the tradition of the rider less horse at military funerals. The Buffalo Soldiers actually bivouacked in this area on their way to Washington in the early 1900s. He was accompanied by two re-enactors leading a rider less horse with a soldiers boots reversed in the stirrups.
The American Creed was read by Jim Edwards. This is the national creed of the United States of America written by William Tyler Page and adopted by Congress in 1918. Edwards also read War is an Ugly Thing.
The program concluded with the retirement of the rider less horse, a military salute conducted by the Clarke County Honor Guard, and “Taps” played by Jessica Tavenner and Joshua Boyles. Post 41 Chaplain Shirley Flippo gave the benediction.
This is truly a community event with many individuals and organizations participating. In addition to the participants, the Bank of Clarke County and BB&T Bank provided the banners advertising the service, Costco provided the water, and John Lyttle provide the public address system.
A special thank you is extended to John Gallagher, Past Commander of Post 41, for his efforts in organizing the program again this year. Also, thanks to all the members of American Legion Post 41 and VFW Post 9760 who assisted with the program.