By Kristin Rover
Memorial Day ceremonies and parades were held throughout Clermont County leading up to and on May 26.
On Thursday, May 22, Willowville Elementary School students honored veterans by hosting their 37th annual ceremony and parade.
Willowville Principal Michelle Kennedy said she enjoys hosting the parade.
“What’s wonderful is honoring all of the veterans, current and past and taking time to remember and make the kids understand that their freedom is not free,” Kennedy said. “Many people have sacrificed many things. I want my kids to understand that.”
During the ceremony several students read poems to veterans and all of the students sung patriotic songs and marched alongside veterans during a parade.
Paul Kirker, of Union Township, said his son participated in the parade and ceremony.
“I like that they honor all of the veterans, and the kids have a good time,” Kirker said.
In Milford, people of all ages participated in the annual Memorial Day Parade May 26.
More than a dozen parade participants including the Milford Exempted Village School District band, Milford police and fire departments, local government officials, local Boy Scout groups, and more participated in the parade.
Dave Howdyschell, of Milford, brought his family to see the parade. He said Memorial Day is important to remember those who have served and payed the ultimate sacrifice.
Also on Memorial Day, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 649 held their 21st annual Memorial Day event at Veterans Memorial Park in Union Township.
The event, which is normally a 24-hour vigil, was shortened this year and was held from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Memorial Day.
Ray Autenrieb, a member of the chapter and one of the organizers, said the reason for the change was because it was getting difficult for organizers to hold the ceremony over 24 hours.
“To be here for 24 hours is rough,” Autenrieb said.
During the ceremony this year, individuals began at 6 a.m. reading the names of more than 500 fallen military men and women from the Greater Cincinnati area who passed away as the result of war.
The names of the fallen were attached to flags and placed on top of crosses at the park.
A closing ceremony was held at the park at 2 p.m. and included a speech from Ohio Senator Joe Uecker and musical performances.
Autenrieb said the ceremony is important to have on Memorial Day.
“This is to show our respect to those who have gone before us,” Autenrieb said. “They gave the ultimate sacrifice. The least we can do is show respect to them.”