VANDALIA — Butler High School students and community members honored 16 fallen members of the Vandalia-Butler community during the 38th Annual Memorial Day Program on Friday.
The program honored 16 individuals dating back to the Civil War: Joseph Beal, Ambrose Beeson, Dean Black, John Buckmaster, Dennis Davidson, James Jordan, Jr., Robert Lumm, Elwood Rogers, David Sabec, Gary Schlecht, Kay Shearer, Hillory Shifflett, Larry Tootle, Dorothy VanZant, Thomas Westerman and George Youngerman, Jr.
The colors were presented by SSG Tory Elrich (Class of 2010), SGT Za’Vaughn Moss, PFC Zach Herbst (2016), and PFC Matt Smith (2017).
The Butler Chamber Choir led the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and student Alison Barlow introduced guests and led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Students Sarah Droesch and Hunter McCracken reminded the audience of the sacrifices made by those in uniform and those they leave behind.
“As a child born into a military family I didn’t have a choice whether to be without my mom for a year or not while she was in a foreign country thousands of miles away, the military made that decision for me,” said McCracken during an emotional speech.
McCracken said his mom chose to retire recently after 28 years of service to avoid going on another deployment.
“I just ask of everyone here that we not just remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, but also keep the men and women who can’t kiss their children good night or can’t fall asleep next to the one they love and wake up to in the morning in our thoughts and prayers this Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend.”
The ceremony concluded with a wreath being placed on at the base of the flag in Butler Memorial Stadium as the flag was lowered to half-staff. A color guard provided a 21-gun salute and Taps was then played before the audience was dismissed.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.