The Mount Airy War Memorial, which bears the names of more than 500 Surry Countians who made the supreme sacrifice in conflicts beginning with the American Revolution, will be the setting for a Memorial Day remembrance service Monday.
Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have died in the nation’s service. And an annual holiday gathering in Mount Airy traditionally has offered citizens a chance to recognize and remember military men and women in protection of their country both today and in the past.
That will be accomplished Monday with a patriotism-laden event scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the war memorial on South Main Street, to which everyone is invited.
The program will include remarks by Mayor David Rowe, music, an address by a veteran and a colorful presence by military organizations.
The special speaker for the occasion will be Monroe Donathan, a local Air Force retiree.
Donathan said Thursday that in addition to the tribute paid to service members during Monday’s event, his remarks will focus on a segment of society usually not remembered on Memorial Day but which also renders valuable and often-dangerous public service. This includes the law enforcement and emergency medical communities.
Many people will walk up to a veteran and say “thank you for your service,” Donathan added, but the vital work of public safety personnel often goes unnoticed, which he plans to address Monday.
Donathan served in the U.S. Air Force from October 1953 to December 1973 with its Intelligence Command, achieving the rank of technical sergeant. His was assigned to such venues as Japan, West Pakistan, the Caribbean, England and Scotland.
Monday morning’s service will be called to order by Mayor Rowe, the master of ceremonies for the event, to include, in order:
• The raising of the flag by the City of Mount Airy Honor Guard;
• A singing of the national anthem led by Elizabeth Martin;
• An invocation by Dennis Barnette, the chaplain of the Mount Airy Fire Department;
• The reading of a city Memorial Day proclamation by the mayor;
• Remarks by Donathan, the keynote speaker;
• The placing of a wreath at the war memorial by the mayor, Donathan and city Honor Guard;
• A singing of “God Bless America” by Martin;
• A rifle volley salute by Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Honor Guard units from Mount Airy VFW Post 2019 and Pilot Mountain Post 9436;
• The playing of “Taps,” led by the VFW Memorial Honor Guard members.
In the event of inclement weather, the remembrance service will be cancelled, organizers say.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.