WORTHINGTON — Weather conditions couldn't have been much better Monday morning as military veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice were remembered during the community's Memorial Day program.
The annual event, typically hosted in Chautauqua Park, took place in Centennial Park this time around because of ongoing construction and improvements. With cloudless skies, a light breeze and temperatures considerably warmer than those during the past few days, it certainly felt like the unofficial first day of summer.
As has become customary, Worthington High School teacher Linda Neugebauer served as master of ceremonies for the program. She was accompanied by three individuals who shared Memorial Day-themed readings as well as the "Amazing" Worthington City Band, which made its initial 2021 public appearance under the direction of Mike Peterson.
Following the salute of the dead by the American Legion and VFW Color Guard and Firing Squad and the sounding of "Taps," Neugebauer led program attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, and an invocation was shared by the Rev. Del Bolluyt after a performance of "America."
The first reading of Monday's Memorial Day program was Abraham Lincoln's famed Gettysburg Address, which was spoken by Sarah Nystrom. While its opening words of "four score and seven years ago" are likely immediately recognizable to most Americans, much of the lesser-known text may have been heard as relevant to today's America.
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task— remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth," states the final sentence of Lincoln's address, which was first delivered on Nov. 19, 1863.
General John A. Logan's Memorial Day Order was read by Barbara Wendt, and the often-recited warm poem "In Flanders Fields" — written during World War I by Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae — was spoken by Quinn Benz.
Other selections performed by the city band, which was playing in Centennial Park for the first time, were "America the Beautiful," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Navy Hymn," "Service Men's Salute" and "The Star Spangled Banner."