Pickerington-area residents will honor America's fallen heroes on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, with the help of Pickerington's David Johnston American Legion Memorial Post No. 283, which has a number of events planned in observance of the national holiday.
Activities will commence at 9 a.m. in Violet Cemetery with a gravesite observance by the Post 283 Honor Guard, assisted by Pickerington Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as well as the Post's Ladies Auxiliary.
After the observance there will be a march to Victory Park in Olde Pickerington for a flag ceremony at 9:30 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m. participants will converge upon Glen Rest Cemetery in Reynoldsburg to honor three fallen Marines from Pickerington who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country: Cpl. David Johnston, Corporal Dustin Derga and Lt. Corporal Terry Parsons.
"Those three have special meaning to our post. That's why we do that," said Post 283 Commander Dave England.
The delegation will be accompanied by 30 Marines from Mike Company 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, who will make their annual trek to Pickerington, many from distant places.
They come to honor their brother and Post namesake Cpl. David Johnston, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969.
"It's a major, big deal with us," said Dan Davis, a Post 283 trustee.
"This is Post 283's Memorial Day reunion with Mike Co. 3/5, which is an outfit in the Marine Corps that David Johnston served with," he said.
He said Pickerington has served as Mike Co. 3/5's "home away from home" every Memorial Day weekend for the past six years.
"They come from Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia, one even comes all the way from California," Davis said.
Post 283, 7725 Refugee Road, will host its own Memorial Day ceremony at 1 p.m. with featured speaker Lt. Colonel Joe Gabriel.
"Joe is a combat veteran, U.S. Army, currently active duty Ohio National Guard. He has a lengthy service record," said England, who will also speak.
Immediately after the ceremony Post 283 will host a luncheon featuring hot dogs and hamburgers.
"It's free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the day," said Davis.
The public is also invited to partake in Post 283's "Almost Legendary Honor Guard Steak Night" on Friday, May 24.
"(Steak Night) starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m., or until the steaks run out," England said.
He said the cost of the meal is $11 and live entertainment is also on the evening's agenda.
England said the focus of all the Memorial Day events will, as always, stay centered on the act of honoring the sacrifices of those that served and continue to serve.
"Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. It's not about picnics or car races," England said.
"It's a day to remember those who fought for our country." he said.
"We also remember we still have active duty service members fighting in Afghanistan," England said.