As a public representative of our community, participating in many meaningful events is my honor and privilege.

June was absolutely bursting with opportunities that filled me with pride and emotion. I participated in the ribbon-cutting festivities celebrating the new Broadway location of Visit Grove City (the Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau), shared Grove City's forthcoming development details with southwest central Ohio real estate agents during a luncheon and dined with some of our future leaders at the Mayor's Annual Boy Scout Breakfast.

However, there is one June weekend in particular that stands out as a tremendous display of community spirit and support as well as fellowship and celebration.

Each of the seven consecutive years we have welcomed the Ohio Flags of Honor traveling memorial, the program brought thought and reverence to our community.

This is always an emotional event and after looking out over those gathered to view the sea of flags representing Ohio's fallen soldiers, I was reminded of the impact the display continues to have on our community. As scheduled, the special flags were respectfully packed and trucked to the next site so others could witness their glory. Fortunately ours is a loving community that never forgets the dedication and sacrifice of our own. In their absence, Grove City's fallen are forever honored at our Purple Heart Memorial Walk at Henceroth Park.

Just two blocks from the flag memorial, we stood with Hershel "Woody" Williams, the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, to formally dedicate the Gold Star Families Memorial Park. Intentionally located on the busiest corner in historic Town Center, the monument and park are a constant reminder of the lifetime sacrifice endured by families of our fallen.

To spend time with the Gold Star families in attendance was humbling -- while they solemnly thanked us for the park, we all felt overwhelmingly indebted for the sacrifice these parents, siblings, spouses, sons, daughters and other family members made for our continued freedom.

The Grove City Town Center Wine and Arts Festival was in full swing by the close of those two military memorial events with the Town Center streets filled with families coming together and enjoying the wine and wares that local artisans provided.

Walking the streets with hundreds of people joined in laughter, music and fellowship was a great reminder that the liberties we were enjoying were directly attributable to those who lost their lives protecting our freedom.

So it is fitting that those welcoming, warm-hearted gatherings all occurred in the same weekend.

July brings a flurry of additional spectacular events that celebrate hometown pride, including the Homecoming Celebration with accompanying Alumni Softball Tournament July 27-29.

It is a privilege to be part of and represent such a caring community constantly bustling with activity, honoring its residents and never sacrificing the small-town feel that makes Grove City the only twice-voted Best Hometown by Ohio Magazine.

Mayor Richard L. "Ike" Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor.