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Veterans groups, students observe Memorial Day

| May 27, 2024
A local veteran participates in Monday's Memorial Day Service in downtown New Philadelphia by placing a wreath at one of the memorials to fallen soldiers in the county courthouse plaza. (WJER Radio)

DOVER (WJER) (May, 27, 2024) – Communities throughout Tuscarawas County spent Monday honoring our fallen military heroes.

The Marching Tornadoes and other student groups helped set the tone for Dover’s Memorial Day Service at Maple Grove Cemetery. Ohio American Legion Commander Jason Rue was the guest of honor and used his time at the podium to highlight the sacrifice of those who died protecting our freedom.

“As proud Americans, we should all remember that our freedom is not free. It is only possible because heroes – some from our own families and neighborhoods – have paid a high price. It’s that price which enables us to have ceremonies and services like this in towns across this great country.” 

Students from the New Philadelphia schools participated in the Memorial Day service in front of the county courthouse, which included performances from the Marching Quakers and Delphian Chorale, a reading of the Gettysburg Address, and a ceremonial flag folding. Organizing committee President Steve Chenevey says youth participation is critical.

“I used to believe that we could get past all these wars and difficulty and stuff but I’ve come to realize I think it’s going to be a continuing thing for the human race, so these young people need to know that they have a responsibility and that our nation will take care of the veterans.”

The featured speaker in New Phila was Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Rogers. The retired U.S. Army Medical Corps colonel focused his remarks on the reason for the extended weekend: the more than 1.2-million service members who have died protecting our nation.

“You may hear someone say ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ Today is not meant to be a happy occasion. It is nice that it’s the beginning of summer and we have graduations and weddings coming up but it’s an occasion to reflect and remember those that gave their lives in service of this incredible country. It is also about those left behind – our Gold Star families –  and the sacrifices they have made as well.”

Organizers also took some time to recognize Hitchcock Sound and owner Sam Hitchcock, who remained hospitalized for injuries he sustained from a fall while setting up for last weekend’s Canal Dover Festival.

“I ask you to all offer your prayers for him and to also think of him today as it’s his birthday so we wish him a happy birthday, too,” said Master of Ceremonies Jerry Chenevey. “I did hear recently from Travis that Sam is doing better this morning  so if we can all keep our fingers crossed and prayers going that he’ll make a full recovery.”

A similar incident briefly interrupted Dover’s tribute when an ambulance arrived for a band member who collapsed and fell face-first onto the ground. The emcee told WJER News the student was awake and being taken to the hospital.

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