Memorial service honors community members who made ultimate sacrifice
Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff residents gathered May 26 for the Tri-Village Area Memorial Service to honor the members of the community who lost their lives in service to their country.
The ceremony was moved from Memorial Park to the Grandview Heights High School auditorium because of inclement weather.
Grandview Mayor Ray DeGraw noted the service was the 70th annual ceremony, which was started in 1942 by the Tri-Village Blue Star Mothers.
The last surviving Blue Star Mother in the area, Laura Titus, passed away last year at age 91, DeGraw said.
For many years, Titus organized and attended the service in honor of her son, James, who was killed in the Vietnam War, and of other service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Marble Cliff Village Council member Kandy Troiano said during her presentation on the history of the Blue Star Mothers.
As he did last year, DeGraw gave details about the lives and deaths of four of the names on the honor roll:
ã Pat Short was born on April 3, 1924, in Morgantown, W. Va. His family moved to Grandview in 1936. Short was active in all school sports and was president of the GHHS Class of 1942. He was drafted into the Army in 1942. He received the Silver Star in November 1944 for his gallantry in assisting members of a night patrol who inadvertently exploded a land mine in Germany. Three weeks later Short was killed when he and other soldiers were shot by Germans who were in an undetected bunker. Short was also awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
ã Steve L. Sparks was born on July 14, 1948. He attended Grandview schools from kindergarten through his junior year. His family moved to Columbus and he graduated from Brookhaven High School in 1967. He joined the Marine Corps the same year. He served 11 weeks in Vietnam before he was killed on April 6, 1968 when a shell exploded near him. Sparks was awarded the Purple Heart. In a letter to his family shortly before he died, Sparks said he was proud to be a Marine like his father, who served in World War II.
ã Thomas Williams was born on Feb. 16, 1931, in Columbus. He left Grandview Heights High School to join the Army in 1947. After being assigned to the Signal Corps of the 24th Division, Williams decided to make the military his career. He was killed by sniper fire on July 16, 1950, in Korea.
ã David Mock was born on July 6, 1928. His family moved to Honolulu in 1936. On Dec. 7, 1941, the family was eating breakfast when they heard the sound of gunfire: The Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor. Mock, only age 13, traveled on his bicycle to help neighbors during the attack. The Mocks moved to back to the U.S. mainland and to a house on Wyandotte Road. Mock graduated from high school in 1946 and from Ohio State in 1950. He married his sweetheart from high school and college. Mock earned the rank of second lieutenant in the Army and was killed Feb. 8, 1951, in Korea while leading his men on an advance toward the enemy.
The memorial service included the annual roll call of the honored dead, recited by 2011 GHHS senior class president Hayden DeRoberts.
As DeRoberts read each name, a member of Boy Scout Troop 73 placed a poppy in that person's honor on a cross.
The service included bag pipes played by Jeff Linn, TAPS performed by Graham Webb, retired U.S. Army and member of Bugles Across America and patriotic music performed by the Grandview Heights High School Band under the leadership of director Kie Watkins.
The invocation and benediction were given by Cindy McKay, an elder of Boulevard Presbyterian Church.