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Considering the conditions veterans of the armed forces endured during their service time, it is no surprise that the 74th Annual Memorial Day Services will soldier on despite the ongoing social distancing guidelines created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host the 74t annual Memorial Day event on the Scotland County Courthouse lawn starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25th.
“Honestly there was never any thought given to canceling the event,” said program chairman Donnie Middleton. “We met with county health officials to share our plans and to get any special instructions related to social distancing.”
Middleton indicated the only real change will likely be the absence of the Community Players musical performances as well as the SCR-I marching band.
“This definitely wasn’t their choice,” said Middleton. “Health officials indicated the musical group would not be adhering to social distancing guidelines of six-feet of separation between members and thus could not perform.”
He indicated the Community Players leadership is seeking additional guidance and considering alternative options that would allow them to continue to offer their voices to the annual celebration.
Missouri State Senator Cindy O’Laughlin will be the featured speaker at the 2020 event.
The VFW Post Commander will open the ceremonies and welcome guests, who will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Veterans Floyd C. Baker and Chuck Ward will due the honors of placing the wreath on the memorial on the southwest side of the courthouse lawn.
Fellow veterans Bill Camp and Leon Buford will then take the podium. Camp will lead the gathering in the reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before Buford, the pastor of Pentecostal Church, will offer the invocation.
The National Anthem will be sang by SCR-I Music Instructor Nathaniel Orr.
Retired Associate Circuit Judge Gary Dial will once again have the honors of introducing the guest speaker.
O’Laughlin, a native of Shelbina, represents the 18th senatorial district, which serves Scotland, Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler and Shelby counties.
She and her husband own and operate Leo O’Laughlin, Inc., a trucking and concrete business with locations in Shelbina, Macon, Marceline and La Belle. She was sworn into office on January 9, 2019.
Following the Senator’s presentation, veteran James Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy and Buford will offer the benediction.
Members of the VFW rifle squad will offer a 21-gun salute as Orr performs Taps to close the service.
Middleton indicated there will be no printed programs this year after the traditional provider recently closed. The program will be printed in the newspaper.