Radford’s 14th annual Memorial Day service to be held Monday, May 28 in Bisset Park
The 14th annual Memorial Day Service in Radford will be held Monday, May 28 in Bisset Park. The service honors 59 Radford servicemen who gave their lives in combat during World War I, World War II and Vietnam, and also honors all veterans, as well as those currently serving our nation in all branches of service.
The event is free and open to the public. It will be broadcast live on WRAD, AM 1460, as a service to those unable to attend.
The weekend begins with the placing of hundreds of American flags at the city end of Memorial Bridge on Friday evening by the Dublin-Radford Ruritan, with each flag representing a person being honored by family or friends. The display will remain on view until May 30. Those wishing to place a flag should contact Tereba Bott at 674-6389 evenings.
The Monday morning service begins with posting of the colors by the area’s Vietnam Veterans, to the bugle of Gary Jackson, LTC, U.S. Army Ret., playing “To the Colors.”
Radford Mayor Bruce Brown will welcome the assembly, with the invocation by the Rev. Don Shelor, associate pastor at Central United Methodist Church in Radford. Featured speaker Lt. Col. Wm. Byron Penland, commander at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, will be introduced by Virginia Delegate Joseph Yost. The names of the 59 Radford servicemen who gave their lives in combat during World War I, World War II and Vietnam, will be read by Dana Jackson, U.S. Navy Ret.
Music will be provided by the Radford High School band, directed by Daniel Frankenberger, and the Radford High School choir, conducted by Lois Castonguay. A 21-gun salute by members of VFW Post 776 and taps will conclude the service.
As the service closes, piper Andrew Meeks will play the solemn “Amazing Grace” as he marches past the dramatic “Field of Crosses,” placed in typical military cemetery array, on the field in front of the Bisset Park Gazebo. Each cross bears the name of one of the 59 Radford servicemen. They were constructed by VFW Commander Gary Harris, with costs underwritten by ATK Ammunition and Energetics at the Arsenal, and lettering provided by Sign Systems of Radford.
Attendees will receive miniature flags from Woodmen of the World, Lodges 14. ATK Ammunition and Energetics, in association with the Commander’s office at the Arsenal, provides the printed program for the ceremonies. Major sponsors for the annual activities are VFW Post 776, American Legion Post 30, The Radford News Journal, WRAD 1460 AM, Vietnam Veterans, Ruritan, and the Citizen Memorial Day Committee. EmCee for the program is Bob Thomas, retired media professional from Radford.
Those 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, and Mullins Funeral Home.
– Submitted by Bob Thomas