Middlebury honors fallen veterans with Memorial Day ceremonies, parade

The Middlebury American Legion held a dusk-to-dawn vigil, parade, ceremony, the reading of the roll and a picnic to commemorate veterans who gave their lives. 

Posted on May 26, 2014 at 4:37 p.m.

MIDDLEBURY — People lined Main Street in Middlebury for the Memorial Day parade, remembering those who have served our country. The crowd broke into applause Monday, May 26, as the color guard of the Mark L. Wilt American Legion Post 210 of Middlebury, veterans and the Legion Riders passed by. The Northridge High School Marching Band rounded out the parade.

At Memorial Park, the community gathered for a ceremony.

“We are thankful for our freedom and those who stood up and stepped forward for our country,” said the Rev. Ron Russell, pastor of Middlebury First United Methodist Church, as he gave the invocation.

Northridge sophomore Libby Grossman read the Gettysburg Address.

“I’m really glad to see this turnout to honor all of our veterans,” said post commander Doug Weaver.

“It is what they have done that has allowed us to be here today,” said Gary Whitehead, former Elkhart County veteran service officer.

“Unless you’ve been there, you don’t really understand the knots in our throats,” said Russell, who served in Vietnam. “The veterans served for the love of our country and were willing to do whatever it took to keep our nation free.”

The Legion Color Guard led the crowd to Grace Lawn Cemetery in Middlebury, stopping at the bridge over the Little Elkhart River. Arianna Buitenhuis tossed a wreath into the waters to honor those lost at sea.

At the memorial to soldiers, the names of all 796 veterans buried in the cemetery were read. On Sunday evening, Post 210 held a vigil over the graves of all of the soldiers from dusk to dawn.

The reading of the roll was followed by a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and a reading of “In Flanders Field” by Theodore Field, the 2014 Hoosier Boys state delegate.

The crowd then gathered around the grave of World War I soldier Cpl. Mark L. Wilt, the post’s namesake. Post member Jack Kortie told about Wilt’s life.

After the ceremony, Post 210 hosted a picnic for the community.

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