Sunny skies, doves highlight Memorial Day service

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 Switzerland County again held its Memorial Day services in honor of its fallen veterans this past Monday, May 27th.

  County Veterans Service Officer Duane Covington led the program, this year sponsored by the Vevay American Legion post, which was held at the Veterans Memorial at the Switzerland County Courthouse lawn.

  This year’s observance began with children from the American Legion Junior Auxiliary leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Makayla Richards sang a stirring rendition of ‘The National Anthem’.

  Covington then game some remarks about Memorial Day and its history and beginnings, and he also shared the significance of how flags are flown on Memorial Day not only to honor the fallen, but also to acknowledge and celebrate those who have served and are currently serving.

  Patrick Lanman, publisher of Vevay Media Group, told the crowd about how he came upon the name of a Switzerland County soldier who became a hero, but had fallen off the pages of history, and few here knew his story. Allen Walker is one of only 3,523 soldiers in the history of this country to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism and bravery.

  Lanman then introduced William Patterson of Shelbyville, Kentucky, the great grandson of Allen Walker. Patterson told the crowd about the exploits and career of service that his great grandfather gave to this country, fighting not only in Texas during the Mexican War, but also in Cuba and Puerto Rico and the Philippines before coming back to Texas and having a career as a Texas Ranger.

   Following Patterson’s remarks, Covington then announced that Allen Walker’s name had been added to the obelisk at the Memorial, and Covington and Patterson unveiled the engraving for the community. Covington noted that a medallion signifying the Medal of Honor will soon arrive and be added to the obelisk.

  The Vevay Music Club again provided a medley of the songs representing the different branches of the service, with veterans in attendance being asked to stand as the song representing their branch of the military was sung.

  That was followed by Stephanie Cutter, President of the Ladies Auxiliary and Randy Leap, the Detachment Commander of the Sons of the American Legion, who read off the names of those Switzerland County soldiers who died in defense of our country.

  That will be followed by the Switzerland County Honor Guard giving the 21-gun salute and the playing of ‘Taps’.

  The Vevay Music Club led the audience in singing, ‘God Bless America’.

  Covington said that due to environmental concerns, this year there would be no release of balloons, but then asked everyone to watch closely, and invited the parents of Sergeant Kenneth Booker, who lost his life in Iraq, to come forward. They opened wicker baskets, releasing trained white doves, when made a circle over and around the monument area before flying away. It was a spectacular way to end the event.