Butler & Warren County Memorial Day Recap
June 2, 2021 - Middletown, Ohio

Many communities in Butler and Warren counties hosted Memorial Day parades to remember “those heroes who never had the opportunity to hang up their uniforms,” a fate that many accept when selflessly joining the United States Military.

Thousands of residents lined the streets of Middletown beginning at Smith Park and coming to an end at Woodside Cemetery.

In Hamilton, there was a program outside the Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument that was highlighted by speeches from a 2021 high school graduate and the executive director of the Butler County Veterans Services Commission.

West Chester also hosted a Memorial Day Parade which proceeded down Cincinnati-Dayton Road. The parade was organized by VFW Post 7696 and American Legion Post 681.

The City of Fairfield held a drive-by parade on Monday.

After a year of virtual events in 2020, including last memorial day, many were jubilated to be able to celebrate and commemorate those who lost their lives fighting for our country.

Perhaps the best description of the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans day was described by Mike Farmer in Hamilton. He said for many veterans, Memorial Day is more meaningful than parades or picnics.He continued on saying “It’s not about me or the other veterans, it’s about those who died along the way. The men and women who didn’t come home to their families and the heroes who never had the opportunity to hang up their uniforms.

Frank Munafo, a graduating Badin senior, also spoke at the Hamilton Memorial Day service. He spoke of pride and adversity. Pride in his family’s long military history, which includes 14 generations and over 325 years of combined military service. He said he has seen "groups of people tarnish the flag, riot instead of protest, and lose remembrance of the meaning of Memorial Day and the men and women who fought and paid the ultimate price to keep our freedoms, which we take for granted every day.” He continued on to apologize to veterans who attended the service as well as all veterans. “They did not fight for the adversity and division we’ve seen today…”

In Middletown, the keynote speaker and retired Middletown police chief Rodney Muterspaw said while Memorial Day is the beginning of summer season, it is also “a somber day, a day of reflection, a day of appreciation.”

WWII Veterans Donald Saylor (96) and Earl Reynolds (95) served as grand marshals for the parade and ceremony. Jeri Lewis, the Middletown Memorial Day parade organizer, said she was amazed by the number of people who lined the route from Smith Park to Woodside Cemetery.

The sacrifice made by those who didn’t come home from war is truly immeasurable. In the words of Rodney Muterspaw, “We simply and bluntly need to do a better job of showing (veterans) the gratitude that they deserve.”

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