Around the Soldiers Circle in Greenlawn Cemetery, residents of Scioto County gathered on Memorial Day to honor the memory and sacrifice of those who fought for the freedoms that our country holds so dear. The ceremony was the ending spot for the Memorial Day parade and the beginning of a day full of honoring our fallen heroes.
Ron Moniger, the president of the Scioto County Memorial Day Association, says that the ceremonies that the association prepares mean a lot to veterans in the area, including himself. Moniger served in the Air Force and the Air Guard.
“I always like remembering those that came before me, those that died so that I could be a veteran,” Moniger said. “I’m always proud of the fact that I served and those who served before me, proud of those who are serving now so that we could have the freedom to do this.”
The guest speaker for the event, James Bussa, is also a veteran of the Air Force. Bussa urged those that attended the ceremony to take the time to remember those who traded their own lives so that our lives of freedom can continue.
“Today isn’t about barbeques, beach trips, or a three-day weekend, all nice stuff,” Bussa said. “But that’s not what today is about. It’s about honoring those special men and women in uniform, and civilians who made that trade and paid the ultimate price to ensure our way of life and ask so little in return.”
Bussa said his goal in giving the speech was to help those who haven’t served in the military to understand the importance of what they do.
“Just to get perspective,” Bussa said. “People who have never been in the military may at times not really grasp the gravity of everything. These folks, many of whom are right here and elsewhere, gave it, gave that ultimate price, and that’s what I want today.”
The ceremony also included music from the Portsmouth Ladies Vocal Ensemble, and the Wheelersburg High School Marching Band.
Doug Espie, director for the Wheelersburg High School Marching Band, said that his students enjoy giving their time to such great causes.
“You know they chose to do this, we already had our Memorial Day parade, and I asked them if this is something they wanted to do and they were all really excited about it,” Espie said. “They are very supportive of our community and of our veterans.”
Trent Williams, who organizes the music for the ceremony, said that the music helps to make the ceremony even more special.
“It just adds to the atmosphere, it makes for a really nice ceremony,” Williams said.
Williams says that in the future he would like to see participation from more schools in the county.
“We would like to rotate the bands,” Williams said. “It’s not just a Portsmouth Memorial Day ceremony, it’s the Scioto County ceremony. So we’d like to have participation from bands all over the county.”
During the ceremony, the Ladies of the Circle paid tribute to those who have lost their lives in service by laying flowers in their memory.
Moniger says that he hopes that people will remember the true reason for Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day is about remembering those who made the ultimate price for our freedom in battle,” Moniger said. “Veterans day is for veterans. Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving. Memorial Day is about those who went overseas or fought here in the US and died for our right for freedom.”