Memorial Day is celebrated as the official start of summer with a full schedule of community festivals and family picnics, but there will be several opportunities to reflect on the sacrifices of those in military service and their families.
Loudoun’s main Memorial Day program will be held Monday beginning at 10 a.m. on the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds in downtown Leesburg. Veterans, active duty military, their families and members of the public are invited to attend the program, which will feature patriotic music, a rifle salute, and laying of wreaths at the county’s war memorials.
This year’s featured speaker is Dennis B. Boykin, a retired U.S. Army major. A Leesburg resident, he is the founder and managing principal of DB4 Consulting. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1973, served in the Arizona Army National Guard, completed his college education, and was commissioned a second Lieutenant of field artillery in 1983. He served in the 1st Infantry Division and 3rd Infantry Division, where he was awarded the Bronze Star in Operation Desert Storm for his actions during the Battle of 73 Easting. He later held commander positions in Hanau, Germany, and in Baumholder, Germany. He completed his career at the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS, retiring in 2000.
The Town of Purcellville will hold a formal ceremony starting at 11:45 a.m. at Town Hall.Staff Sgt. William Slease III and his wife, Alice, will deliver the keynote remarks. Then participants will walk to the teardrop intersection along Main Street for a wreath-laying ceremony conducted by the American Legion.
Later that day, members of the Leesburg Daybreak Rotary Club will celebrate the day with a Flags for Heroes display at Leesburg’s Freedom Park, starting at 1 p.m.
The club will display 250 American flags in honor of individuals who have served as heroes, including members of the military, law enforcement, and fire and rescue, as well as coaches, teachers and others. These 10-foot-tall flags will be visible to the public and displayed for one week at Freedom Park in Leesburg as a reminder of those heroes in our lives. Each flag is sponsored for $50 and will include the name of a hero on a medallion.
The park is located at 101 Colonel Grenata Circle near Heritage High School.
For some, the day will get off to a running start with the annual Salute to Our Troops race. The event features 10K, 5K and 1K races at One Loudoun following a Memorial Day ceremony. The first race begins at 8 a.m. Learn more and register at ringinginhope.com.
The day’s commemorations wrap up with a special program at the Ball’s Bluff Cemetery near Leesburg. The Friends of Ball’s Bluff is planning a retreat ceremony at the Ball’s Bluff Cemetery at 5 p.m. to honor those soldiers who fell during the 1861 battle. This event will include a reading of the casualty rolls, the reading of an excerpt from the 1884 Memorial Day speech of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a bugle sounding of retreat, and the lowering of the flag in the cemetery.
There also will be special community celebrations in three towns this weekend.
Monday is Hamilton Day.