Virginia Delegate Joseph Yost (R-12th) and Radford Arsenal Commander LTC Luis A. Ortiz are featured speakers during Radford’s 16th Annual Memorial Day Service at the Gazebo in Radford’s Bisset Park, Monday, May 26, at 11 a.m.
According to retired local media professional Bob Thomas, a dramatic “Field of Crosses” in front of the park’s gazebo will honor Radford’s servicemen lost in past wars. Each cross represents one of 59 from the city who gave their lives in battle.
Their names will also be read by Dana Jackson, US Navy Ret, Commander of American Legion Post 30, to the sound of drums.
The service will open with the raising of the American Flag, “To The Colors” by bugler
Gary Jackson, LTC, US Army, retired, with the National Anthem sung by the Radford High School Choir, directed by Lois Castoguay.
The Radford High School Band, directed by Daniel Frankenberger, will honor all those, past and present in all branches of service, with a musical salute to America’s Armed Forces. The RHS Choir will also present a patriotic choral salute.
Radford Vice Mayor Richard Harshberger will welcome the assembly, with the invocation by Central United Methodist Church pastor the Rev. Dale Gilbert.
The service will conclude with Piper Andrew Meeks playing “Amazing Grace” as he moves through the “Field of Crosses,” followed by a 21-gun salute by VFW Post 776, and “Taps” by bugler Jackson.
The service is free and open to the public. It will also be broadcast live on WRAD, AM 1460, as a service to those unable to attend.
Attendees will receive miniature flags from Woodmen of the World, Lodge 14. Arsenal contractor BAE Systems will provide the ceremony’s printed program in association with the Commander’s office.
The weekend begins Friday evening, May 23, with a display of hundreds of American flags at the city end of Memorial Bridge. According to Thomas, It is an annual tradition of the Dublin-Radford Ruritan Club, with each flag representing a person being honored by family or friends.
The display will remain on view until May 27. Those wishing to place a flag should contact Tereba Bott at 674-6389 in the evening.
Major sponsors for the annual activities include VFW Post 776, American Legion Post 30, The Radford News Journal, WRAD 1460 AM, Vietnam Veterans, Ruritan, and the Citizen Memorial Day Committee. Thomas will be the emcee for the program.
Others assisting with the event include Radford Parks and Recreation, City of Radford, the RHS Music Department, NRV Detachment of the Marine Corps League, VFW Post 776 Ladies Auxiliary, Realtor Bill Bondurant, Mullins Funeral Home, with sound system courtesy of John Fox of “Music You Remember.”
The service is open and free to the public. For more information, contact Thomas at 540-633-0081.