A longtime holiday tradition will continue Saturday when the historic village of Rockford hosts a program in honor of Memorial Day.
“This is the 30th year they have had a Memorial Day service,” said Hannah Holyfield, an organizer of the event she became involved with after moving to the Rockford community in 1996. It is sponsored by the Rockford Preservation Society Inc., a non-profit organization, and is free and open to the public.
The historical aspects of Rockford, the former Surry County seat and the home of a number of circa early 1800s buildings, seem to complement the annual program that honors those who have fought for America and the times in which they lived.
That includes a service at Rockford Methodist Church, which will begin Saturday at 3 p.m., and afterward the placing of flags on soldiers’ graves at the nearby Rockford Baptist Church cemetery. The village is located in southern Surry County, nestled along the Yadkin River.
Usually, the program at the church includes a guest speaker on a relevant topic — which last year featured author Chris Hartley, who addressed local events surrounding the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
However, this year’s program at the church is different — its focus will involve a musical tribute to each wartime period from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.
Dr. Gena Poovey, Noah Lindeman, Gene Anderson and Marion Venable will perform “meaningful” songs associated with each war period, organizers say.
“We have done that before, in 1992 and 2002,” Holyfield said Monday of the all-music program theme employed by the Rockford Preservation Society. A similar approach was taken in 2005 with a service that featured music from the Civil War era.
“We just thought we would do this program again,” Holyfield said of the musical emphasis. “It just seemed like the thing to do this year.”
In between the musical presentations, a roster of deceased military personnel from each wartime period will be read in the church, continuing a regular part of the annual program along with other special remarks.
This will include service personnel hailing from the Rockford and Stony Knoll areas, even those who are not buried in those communities. Holyfield said one person to be recognized is interred in a military cemetery in Italy.
Refreshments will be served in the church after the service.
The program will continue in the Rockford Baptist Church cemetery with the placing of flags on soldiers’ graves.
A group of Civil War re-enactment troops is scheduled to render a gun salute in the graveyard. “Hopefully, we will find someone who will play ‘Taps,’” Holyfield added.
While the Memorial Day service is free, donations to support the Rockford Preservation Society’s restoration efforts in the village established in 1789 will be accepted and appreciated, organizers say.
From Dobson, Rockford can be reached via Rockford Road off U.S. 601.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.