GREENVILLE — With flags waving, hands on hearts and heads bowed, area residents gathered in downtown Greenville Wednesday for the city’s annual Veterans Day parade.
A combined color guard of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars and Greenville High School’s NJROTC led the parade marchers from Greenville Public Library to the front of the Darke County Courthouse.
The Greenville High School Marching Band in full uniform accompanied the procession with “This is My Country.”
Chaplain Ken Price of Greenville’s American Legion Post 140 reminded those gathered of the history and purpose of the commemoration, saying, “As you know, two holidays are set aside to honor our veterans — Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, and Veterans Day, on November 11.”
Price then led the crowd in prayer, asking God’s blessing on past veterans, those currently serving in the armed forces as well as America’s commander-in-chief.
Two veterans laid a wreath at the veterans memorial in front of the courthouse.
The honor guard performed a 21-gun salute. This was followed by the playing of “Taps,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the band.
“As we conclude our program,” said Price, “let me remind you this is the land of the free because of the brave.”
A few hundred veterans gathered for a free lunch at the American Legion following the parade, where volunteers from the local chapter of the American Red Cross helped serve the meal and handed out “Thank-You” cards.
Later in the afternoon, the Brethren Retirement Community also held a Veterans Day event honoring veterans in its community.
The Greenville High School NJROTC color guard was in attendance at the program to present the colors while vocalist Tish Smith entertained the crowd with patriotic songs.
Jan Teaford, housing manager at the Brethren Home’s Chestnut Village, organized the program.
“This is your day,” she told the veterans in the audience. “We owe our freedom to you due to your sacrifices.”
Teaford said the event was the idea of one of the residents.
“One of our independent living residents in the village suggested doing it,” she said. “We usually do something for our vets, but not to this scale.”
She added, “It means a lot to them to have the Greenville ROTC here. They really enjoy being honored and being able to meet the next generation of veterans following after them.”
Erik Martin may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.