Glenmont celebrates 13 reasons to honor vets on Memorial Day

Glenmont celebrates 13 reasons to honor vets on Memorial Day
Dave Mast

As part of the Killbuck VFW National Guard, Larry Purdy belts out taps on the bugle to put the finishing touches on the Glenmont Memorial Day service.

                        

After missing last year’s Memorial Day service due to the pandemic, the people of Glenmont were excited to get back to a celebration that has always been near and dear to their hearts.

As it has in the past, the event featured a parade that included some festival royalty, the West Holmes High School marching band, the color guard leading the way, and the sounds and flashes from emergency vehicles.

The event allowed Glenmont families and others to celebrate and honor the men and women who have served and given their lives in honor of their country.

Choosing to go into the ministry out of college, Ed Stivers, pastor at Glenmont Church of Christ, said while he never had the honor of serving his country in the armed forces, one thing he could do was make sure he and the Glenmont community honored those who did. For the past 29 years, last year’s absence due to the pandemic notwithstanding, Stivers has taken on a key role in developing the Glenmont Memorial Day celebration.

“You’ve got to make sure you do the right thing, and the right thing is to make sure that we honor those who fought for our freedoms,” Stivers said. “As a minister I am so grateful to those who fought and sacrificed for our freedom of religion.”

Over the years Stivers has traveled with the Killbuck Color Guard as they traveled around to different cemeteries in the immediate area, offering a pastoral prayer at each site. He said seeing the large crowd return to this annual event was a blessing and showed how much the community wants to honor those who served.

Jeremiah Scadden, a 2001 West Holmes graduate, was making the rounds all over Western Holmes County, serving as a keynote speaker. Scadden is currently serving as the youth pastor at Parkview Christian Church in Wooster.

“I count it as an honor and privilege to speak here today,” Scadden said. “We’ve all come here to honor and reflect on those soldiers who fought and sacrificed themselves so we could enjoy our lives. It’s important to show our respect to those who have served and are serving in our military.”

Scadden turned his attention to honoring not just the U.S. flag, but also the meaning behind the 13 folds that are present when a flag is retired, folded and presented to someone.

He said he never truly understood the meaning behind the folding of the flag until he dug deeper into it, although he had many family members who taught him of the importance of honoring the flag and what it represents.

“I always remember them putting so much emphasis on the flag not touching the ground,” Scadden said of his grandfather Bill and other family members who served. “I never really understood what that meant until I got older and began to realize what the flag really stands for, for all of the blood and sacrifice that has been poured out of those who served.”

Scadden said it wasn’t until a recent memorial service for a fallen soldier that his brother identified the importance of each of the folds of the flag that was presented to the soldier’s family.

Of the folds, the first fold of the flag is a symbol of life. The second signifies belief in eternal life. The third is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of the country to attain peace. The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God. The fifth fold is an acknowledgement to our country. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death and to honor mothers on Mother’s Day.

The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great have been molded. The 10th fold is a tribute to fathers, for they too have given sons and daughters for the defense of the country. The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost. The last fold, when the flag is completely folded and the stars are uppermost, reminds people of the national motto, “In God We Trust.”

To put the finishing touches on the service at Glenmont, Larry Purdy, veteran of the U.S. Navy, where he served on submarines for five years, and member of the Killbuck VFW Color Guard, played taps on the bugle. His rendition of the haunting yet meaningful song served as a quiet time for those in attendance to reflect on those who served and gave their lives for their country.

“I have done taps since 2007 for the guard, and it started with my father’s passing,” Purdy said. “They had a taped version playing, and I wasn’t fond of that, so I joined and I’ve been playing taps ever since.”

Purdy said playing the mournful song is something in which he takes great pride, and it is an honor he will continue to do as long as he can because of its significance.

After the service ended, many people decided to hang around and explore the Glenmont Memorial, which was initially a single stone structure with flags beside it. Five years ago the memorial got a huge addition as the community decided to add a stone center area and build four more walls engraving many area service members who paid the ultimate price serving their country in the name of freedom.


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