Memorial Day events planned

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — This year’s Memorial Day observances will be punctuated by a special event, Monday, May 29.

A Civil War soldier will receive long-overdue recognition during a dedication ceremony in the Tablet Room of the Monumental Building, immediately following the traditional courtsquare service, which will begin at 9 a.m.

Pvt. William J. Peel was a member of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, United States Colored Troops. He and his wife lived in Shelby County immediately before the Civil War. The official roster of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry lists him as a resident who enlisted from Shelby County, Ohio. Peel was killed at the Battle of Honey Hill in South Carolina, Nov. 30, 1864.

The Monumental Building Trustees, based on research provided by the Shelby County Historical Society and other volunteers, identified Peel, who died in the defense of this country and whose name was not added to the Monumental Building tablets reflecting those Shelby County residents who gave their life in the Civil War.

Representatives from local veterans groups will participate in the ceremony. An honor guard comprising service members or reenactors from the Civil War, World Wars I and II and Korea is being assembled. Peel’s name will be added to the hallowed memorial tablets. The newly-engraved tablet will be unveiled.

The public is invited to participate in this dedication ceremony in honor of the sacrifice made by Peel.

Area Memorial Day observances will begin Saturday, May 27, at 7:45 a.m. when Boy and Girl Scouts, service organization members and community volunteers decorate the graves of deceased veterans in cemetaries throughout the region. Scouts and others will mark graves with flags and potted geraniums in Graceland Cemetery in Sidney beginning then.

Sunday, May 28, ceremonies

• There will be a service in Houston Cemetery at 10:15 a.m. Fort Loramie American Legion Post 355 will post an honor guard, and Pastor Kris Geise, of the Houston Congregational Christian Church, will conduct the services.
• At 11:15 a.m., the Sidney American Legion Post 217 firing squad and honor guard will open ceremonies in the Plattsville Cemetery. The guest speaker will be Ed Ball, executive director of the Shelby County Veterans Service Office. Pastor Larry Grunden will lead the prayers.
• At 12:30 p.m. in the Cedar Point Cemetery, 17510 state Rout 706, Pasco, the Post 217 firing squad and honor guard will welcome a guest speaker Jon Johnson, a veteran of the U.S. Marines and a member of the Western Ohio Marine Corps League. The Rev. Nonito Dobles will lead the prayers.

• At 1:30 p.m. in the Glenn Cemetery in Port Jefferson, the Post 217 firing squad and honor guard will welcome U.S. Army veteran Ed Garrett as guest speaker. The Sidney First United Methodist Church Mens Choir will sing.

Monday, May 29, ceremonies

• U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Dennis Clausing will speak during ceremonies on the courtsquare in downtown Sidney, which will continue later at Graceland Cemetery after the dedication in the Monumental Building. U.S. Marine Corps Capt. (Ret.) Chuck Craynon, master of ceremonies, will open the event on the courtsquare at 9 a.m. Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst and the Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst will offer a welcome. Ainsley Wiford, of Girl Scout Troop 20283, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Jim Oates, of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, will offer an invocation.

U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Dr. William Ross III will read General Logan’s orders, Gold Star Wife Carleen Pettit and Gold Star Mother Dorothy Lochard will lay a wreath and the Post 217 firing squad will present a rifle salute.

Participants will then move to the Monumental Building for the unveiling of the tablet with Peel’s name and then to Graceland Cemetery.

At the cemetery, Crayon will call the assembly to order. Oates will lead a prayer and World War II Navy veteran Carl Zimmerman will read Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. Flowers and wreaths will be presented by various service organizations. The legion firing squad will present a second rifle salute, and the student will conclude the ceremonies with the playing of taps.

Clausing, of North Olmsted, is the Ohio American Legion national executive committeeman. He is a past Department of Ohio Legion commander and has served in various capacities at the post, county and district leels. On the national level, he has sat on the Distinguished Guest, Merchant Marine and Economics committees. He currently serves on the Veterans Benefits Committee.

Clausing is also a member of Voiture 11, 40 et 8 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 108. He is the American Legion deputy representative to the Cleveland VA Medical Center and is retired from the Oho Savings Bank and Westrn-Southern Life Insurance Co.

• At 10 a.m., the Heiland American Legion Post 446 will open services in the Anna High School gymnasium. The Anna High School Band will perform. Pastor Kenneth Castor, of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Sidney, will be the guest speaker. He is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Unit and a former police officer.

• New Bremen Mayor Jeff Pape will speak during observances coordinated by American Legion Post 241 in the German Protestant Cemetery, New Bremen-New Knoxville Road at Lock Two Road, New Bremen, at 11 a.m. The New Bremen High School band will perform, and the legion, legion auxiliary and sons of the legion will lay wreaths.

• The 32nd annual Shelby Memorial Gardens Memorial Service will begin at 11 a.m. in Shelby Memorial Gardens, 8347 state Route 705, Sidney. Pastor Earnie Jones will lead prayers, scripture readings and songs of praise.

• Castor will also speak during Franklin Township services beginning at noon in Pearl Cemetery, 11095 county Road 25A North, Sidney.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.