The Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff community gathered last Thursday for its annual Memorial Day Service at Memorial Park to honor area residents who lost their lives in military service.

The Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff community gathered last Thursday for its annual Memorial Day Service at Memorial Park to honor area residents who lost their lives in military service.

The ceremony was sponsored by the Tri-Village unit of the Blue Star Mothers under the direction of the group's president, Laura Titus, and the city of Grandview Heights.

As part of the ceremony, Grandview Heights High School senior class president Gina Bell read the names of the 61 local residents who lost their lives in military service.

As each name was read, a member of Boy Scout Troop 73 placed a poppy on a small white cross.

Grandview Mayor Ray DeGraw served as master of ceremonies.

DeGraw reviewed the tragic numbers of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice: 618,000 Americans killed in the Civil War; 50,000 in World War I; 418,000 in World War II; 36,516 in the Korean War; 58,217 in Vietnam.

"And since 2001, the numbers grow on a daily basis," he said.

DeGraw read a portion of Gen. John Logan's General Order No. 11, which in May 1868 officially proclaimed Memorial Day.

"We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance," Logan wrote. "Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic."

State Sen. Steve Stivers was the feature speaker.

In introducing him, DeGraw noted that as a member of the Ohio Army National Guard, Stivers chose to serve with his unit for one year in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Djibouti, although as an elected official he could have been exempted.

Stivers was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in 2004-05.

Grandview's memorial service is a fitting way to honor those who lost their lives serving our country, Stivers said.

In the beautiful setting of Memorial Park and the surrounding neighborhood, it is hard to imagine that America is a nation at war with men and women serving in faraway lands, he said.

Some of those soldiers are getting hurt and some are making the ultimate sacrifice, Stivers said.

Few communities have a Memorial Day observance like Grandview's, he said.

The great thing about the city's Memorial Day parade is that everybody participates, Stivers said.

"It's a lot of fun," he said.

But no one, adults nor children, forget what Memorial Day is all about, Stivers said.

The holiday celebrates those who serve our country and honors those who sacrificed their lives in that service, he said.

"It's about celebrating the freedoms we have in this country," Stivers said. "We have a lot of freedom. And all of that was caused by the sacrifice of our founding fathers.

"The way to honor that sacrifice and service is to use that freedom," he said.

The ceremony also included Marble Cliff Mayor Rich Murray relating the history of the Blue Star Mothers.

The ceremony included patriotic selections performed by the Grandview Heights High School Band under the direction of Kie Watkins. The band performed a concert following the ceremony.

afroman@thisweeknews.com