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Mighty Parade March Red Hot, Heartfelt

Peters Township staff, students, parents, neighbors and veterans participated Monday in the annual Memorial Day festivities.

community members arrived bright and early to for the start of the annual red, white and blue festivities. 

Township staff, students, parents, neighbors and veterans gathered to march in—and watch—the parade, which progressed down East McMurray Road and concluded in the parking lot on Valley Brook Road. 

escorted the parade participants. A sea of red and white led the route—including the VFW Post 764 Color Guard, the American Legion Post 944 Color Guard and the Mighty Indian Marching Band. 

A 20-year veteran, band director Milt Barney served in the Air Force and said his father fought in WWII. 

Two cars carried the main speaker and clergy of the soon-to-follow program, and the Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen essay winners—all Peters students.

Members from the Peters Creek Encampment—co-led by retiring teacher Vaughn Dailey, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Daisies, baseball and soccer players, gymnasts and Relay For Life committee members also marched in the parade. 

An antique vehicle, and  trucks completed the procession. Officials threw candy to onlookers as they passed.

Following the march, Senior Vice Commander Lester Botkin, in front of the Veterans' Memorial, gave the opening remarks. The Peters Township Marching Band then played the National Anthem and Sara Botkin sang a beautiful rendition of "God Bless America."

A 21-gun salute followed an invocation by Pastor Terri Mann. The marching band followed with "Taps."

Veterans Eugene Rockacy and Marilyn Grindel placed wreaths at the memorial, and chairman Joe Orient gave awards to Voice of Democracy and Patriot's Pen essay winners. 

Middle school student Hannah Taylor took first place in the Patriot's Pen contest; Stephanie Wong took second; and Elise Dowdall third. Taylor was absent Monday, so Wong gave her award-winning speech. 

In the Voice of Democracy contest, high school students Josh Bowman took third, Christopher Laster took second and Cameron Maxwell read his first-place speech to the crowd. Maxwell's piece won in District 24—all of Washington and Greene counties—and also made it to the state level, where it had a successful finish. 

Currently serving as Rep. Tim Murphy's Veterans and Military Affairs liaison, retired U.S. Army Gen. Jim Hill was the keynote speaker.

The morning went off without a hitch. The festivities were warm with emotion and hot temperatures. Friends and families gathered outside the VFW for hot dogs and refreshments following the program.

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