By Marianne Mueller


ROCKTON – Those who sacrificed their lives while protecting and defending our country were honored during a Memorial Day parade and remembrance ceremony.

Organized and led by the American Legion Walter Graham Post #332 Rockton’s Memorial Day parade started on Blackhawk Blvd. where a wreath ceremony honored Veterans who served at sea.

Members of the American Legion Post #332 Ladies Auxiliary, The Rockton Police Department, Rockton Cub Scout Pack 619, Boy Scouts, and the Rockton Fire Department proudly graced the parade.  Marjorie Penwarden rode in style in a car driven by Jack Richardson.

Sounds of “God Bless America” rang out as the Hononegah High School band marched in the parade.

The parade flowed into the Rockton Township Cemetery where a very meaningful ceremony reflected on the reason behind Memorial Day. Post Commander James Griffin gave a warm welcome and introduced guest speaker, Pastor Dan Herman.

“I don’t remember a time when we have been more divided. I hope we can find justice for all people,” opened Pastor Herman. “Just as we need the Military to protect us, protect those who serve and help us to always be grateful for their service.

“Bless our Legions and Veterans of Foreign War who have served our country and have died in the line of duty. Today we remember family and friends who have gone before us and have made sacrifices for those around us. Keep the sound of laughter and hope in our souls. Bless our country and put blessing upon our country in this most unrestful time,” Pastor Herman prayed. ”

“Today our Veterans are going to have some closure as each name is read,” said Commander Griffin. I am sure you are all familiar with Vet’s Roll.  Two hundred of our Veterans of World War 1, World War II, Vietnam and Korea went to Washington D.C.

“Years ago they had no homecoming. When they returned from Vet’s Roll 2016 I was very humbled that they had their closure for the first time. A meaningful homecoming gave them the welcome home they truly deserve,” Griffin reflected.

Gordy Justice Senior and his daughter, Beckie  gave a roll call of  names of fallen comrades who served in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, War Unknown, Vietnam, Iraq War, and those who are buried elsewhere.

Gene Stien and Richard Shaw performed a wreath laying ceremony followed by raising the flag at half- mast accompanied by a salute. The rifle squad gave a 21-gun salute.

The Hononegah High School marching band played the National Anthem as hands were placed over hearts. Taps was beautifully played by Hannah Carrick and Vanessa Vagel.

Commander Griffin gave special thanks to the Hononegah High School band, Rockton Village Public Works Department and Superintendent Bruce Werrbach, and Dennis Seeley for providing the sound system, Rockton Police and Fire Departments, and to Jerri Noller who keeps the cemetery so clean and in such good shape. Griffin concluded thanking everyone who came out and by wished them a happy and safe holiday.

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