Memorable Morning March

By on June 1, 2016
The Lititz Fire Company heads toward Lititz Square during the Memorial Day parade.

The Lititz Fire Company heads toward Lititz Square during the Memorial Day parade.

Residents lined Broad and Main streets, cheering for and waving to local veterans as they marched toward the cemetery.

On the command of the master of ceremonies, young children laid flowers on the graves of veterans as a token of enduring memory.

On the command of the master of ceremonies, young children laid flowers on the graves of veterans as a token of enduring memory.

Young Scouts, both boys and girls, carried flowers to decorate the graves, instilling respect for the meaning of the day in a new generation.

Firefighters and police officers, many of them military veterans, donned formal uniforms for the procession.

A Lititz Community Band drummer does his part to keep the scene lively as the band turns onto Main Street.

A Lititz Community Band drummer does his part to keep the scene lively as the band turns onto Main Street.

The bold brass and percussion of marching bands provided the thrilling soundtrack.

Lititz’s annual Memorial Day tradition, sponsored by American Legion Post 56, is as cherished as any. It’s not the biggest event in town, but the patriotic pride and emotion it generates is unparalleled.

After the final police car passes, the crowd converges on the street and follows the cavalcade to God’s Acre, also known as the Moravian Church Cemetery. A “hallow square” is formed, and the commander calls for the children to place their fresh-cut bouquets on the marked graves of history’s heroes.

“These flowers may wither and die, but the spirit of which they are a symbol will endure until the end of time,” he announces.

Bruce Hoover reads Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during the post-parade ceremony at the Moravian Cemetery.

Bruce Hoover reads Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during the post-parade ceremony at the Moravian Cemetery.

Symbols of reverence for military men and women who have died while serving this country abound in the morning’s program, from Vietnam veteran William Stuaffer’s singing of “America the Beautiful” to Bruce Hoover’s reading of President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”

Post 56 Chaplain Richard Little offers a heartfelt prayer, the high school band plays the “National Anthem,” a firing squad salutes the dead, the Lititz Community Band performs each of the military service songs, and a bugler closes with “Taps” from the other side of the field.

Retired Lt. Col. Kirk Schlotzhauer was the guest speaker during the Lititz Memorial Day celebration.

Retired Lt. Col. Kirk Schlotzhauer was the guest speaker during the Lititz Memorial Day celebration.

This year’s guest speaker for the ceremony was Lieutenant Colonel Kirk D. Schlotzhauer, retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. His message was about the core values of service — honor, courage and commitment — and what many give up to maintain those principles.

“Life seems to come at us pretty fast these days,” he said, “but Memorial Day reminds us of the importance of pausing and thinking about the ultimate sacrifice that many of our service members, first responders, and their families have made.

Volleys of rifle fire from guns representing many eras in American history served as a final tribute to those who gave their lives for our country.

Volleys of rifle fire from guns representing many eras in American history served as a final tribute to those who gave their lives for our country.

“The least important part of today’s festivities is my words. The most important part is what’s in our hearts and minds. You see, the eloquence of words cannot match the power of the sacrifices that have been made by so many. We honor them. We praise them. And we must always remember them.”

Wreaths were presented by Legion Post 56, VFW Post 1463, American Legion Auxiliaries, and Sons of the American Legion during Monday’s ceremony at the Moravian Cemetery.

Wreaths were presented by Legion Post 56, VFW Post 1463, American Legion Auxiliaries, and Sons of the American Legion during Monday’s ceremony at the Moravian Cemetery.

 Local Pittsburgh Pirates fans Steve Lee and son Tucker enjoy a front row seat for the annual Memorial Day Parade in downtown Lititz.

Local Pittsburgh Pirates fans Steve Lee and son Tucker enjoy a front row seat for the annual Memorial Day Parade in downtown Lititz.

A Vietnam veteran reaches out to give an American flag to a young parade watcher near the square in Lititz.

A Vietnam veteran reaches out to give an American flag to a young parade watcher near the square in Lititz.

95-year-old WWII Coast Guard veteran Robert Allwein (left) stands with son Jerry Allwein along Main Street on Monday.

95-year-old WWII Coast Guard veteran Robert Allwein (left) stands with son Jerry Allwein along Main Street on Monday.

Photos by Mike Shull

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *