Scioto County Memorial Day parade to be May 27


PORTSMOUTH- Memorial Day is just around the corner and, along with it, area festivities and parades. One such parade is the Scioto County Memorial Day Parade in Portsmouth.

“It brings people together, I think, to honor the veterans who did fight for our freedom,” said Donna Lewis.

Lewis is president of the Scioto County Memorial Day Association, which sponsors the annual Scioto County Memorial Day Parade in Portsmouth and the decoration of veterans’ graves at Greenlawn Cemetery.

The parade starts at Tracy Park at 10 a.m., Monday, May 27. Those who wish to participate in the parade itself should be there by 9:30 a.m. to line up. There is no registration for those who wish to take part in one of Ohio’s oldest parades.

The parade route takes participants up Offnere Street to Greenlawn Cemetery, where a ceremony will take place and flowers laid at Soldier’s Circle.

“There is a ceremony in Greenlawn itself and it starts shortly after the parade ends,” Lewis said. “The parade starts at 10 and we usually start the services at the cemetery at quarter after 11 or 11:30 a.m.”

This year’s grand marshal is David Chaffin. Speaking at the Greenlawn ceremony is local realtor and veteran Charles Euton. The Ladies in White will lay flowers in Soldiers Circle.

“All the ladies are dressed in white and they have flower arrangements, ” Lewis said. “We lay them down toward the bottom of the soldiers monument.”

Greenlawn Cemetery is home to the most veterans’ graves in the county. Over the more than 40 acres in the heart of Portsmouth, the cemetery is the final resting place of more than 3,500 veterans. There are 2,500 to 3,000 veterans interred in the various cemeteries countywide.

The Portsmouth Memorial Day parade and surrounding events had a larger turnout years ago. However, villages, townships, and unincorporated areas of the county have started having their own Memorial Day events through the years.

“Our parade has gone down quite a lot because of all the outlying areas … they’re all having their own little parades and their own services nowadays. That has really affected our parade,” Lewis said.

Still, those outlying areas and townships can request flags from the Scioto County Memorial Day Association to place on gravesites countywide. The Scioto County commissioners and the Scioto County Veterans Service Office help fund the flags for veterans’ gravesites.

“Not every township calls to get flags,” Lewis said. “They could if they want to do that.”

But as long as locals are recognizing, remembering, and honoring the sacrifices of America’s veterans throughout conflict and peacetime, that’s all that matters.

Volunteers are planning to place flags on graves at Greenlawn Thursday, May 23, through Saturday, May 25. Any individuals or groups who would like to help should go to the cemetery’s service garage by entering the cemetery through the Kinneys Lane entrance and ask for Rhonda Madison, who is coordinating the flagging of graves. The garage can be found to the left of the Kinneys Lane gate.

“If anybody is interested, it would be wonderful if they have a church group, a scout group … just show up,” Lewis said. “We can always use volunteers.”

The Scioto County Memorial Day Association is welcoming new members. The general public is welcome and there are no requirements to become a member.

“If anybody would like to be on the Memorial Day Association committee … anybody can be on the Memorial Day Association committee,” Lewis said. “We’re more than willing to let people come and be on it and we would be excited to have new people come.”

Reach Lori McNelly at [email protected] or at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928. © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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