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Memorial Day service at Grove Hill draws large crowd

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Many people brave high temperatures to attend outdoor service

By Lisa King

More than 200 people braved the 90-degrees-plus temperatures Monday to attend the Memorial Day service at Grove Hill Cemetery.

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The crowd proved the spirit of patriotism is still alive and well as they gathered under tents, trees and even stood in the boiling sun to hear speakers, sing stirring songs and listen to the melancholy dirge of bagpipes and the solemn notes of “Taps.”

After a walking tour of the cemetery hosted by Friends of Grove Hill, led by historian Mike Harrod, the crowd gathered outside the chapel for the service.

The keynote speaker, retired Col. Ken Hudson, thanked the people for fitting the service into a day that is associated with picnics, barbecues and the unofficial beginning of summer.

“All the wars are slowly fading in a lot of folks’ minds, even Vietnam, although the memory of those who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq is still fresh,” he said. “But this day gives us a chance to pause and reflect on the sacrifices, gallantry and bravery of the thirty-five million service men and women who have fought for America within the past century, a million of whom never came home.”

Col. Roger Green, commander of VFW Post 1179, which hosted the service at the cemetery and afterwards held a free lunch at the post downtown, said he was very pleased with the turnout.

“It says a lot about the people of Shelbyville and how they feel about their country,” he said.

Amid the speakers and singers and the Shelby County High School Jr. ROTC Marine Corps color guard and bugler Eddie Puckett who played a stirring version of “Taps,” a new figure was present in the ceremony Monday, Howard Blatch of Mount Eden, who played the bagpipes.

“It’s his first time here; he just called me and asked if he could participate,” Green said. “It was a great touch.”