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NL grad and recruiter helps NL community remember fallen heroes

By Ellen Simmons • May 29, 2017 at 7:12 PM

NEW LONDON — The Memorial Day observance in the village does not change a lot from year to year, and it remains a poignant reminder of those who gave their lives in support of their country.

This year’s service was led by Dave Smith, commander of American Legion Post 292. The remembrance speech was given by Staff Sgt. Andy Hance, a New London High School graduate, who is a member of the Ohio Army National Guard.

Hance, who served two tours in Iraq and is now a recruiter in Norwalk, reminded the audience the first day of remembrance was May 30, 1868 at Arlington, Va., where 20,000 casualties from both sides of the Civil War were buried. James Garfield, a former Union general and congressman from Ohio, served as the speaker.

Hance gave tribute to the veterans of all wars and asked for “a moment of silence to honor our fallen heroes and their families.”

Smith then called Dean Bailey to the stage to honor him for his 70 years as a member of Legion Post 292. A native New Londoner, Bailey served in World War II and remains active in the village today. He turns 90 in December.

The New London High School Band, as well as the Show Choir, performed during the ceremony. Poppy girl Ella Booth and Legion 292 Auxiliary member Nancy Longbrake, with the help of Legion commander-of-the-day John Roeder, laid the wreath. Pastor Doug Lang of the New London Alliance Church and Tim McCollum of the Fitchville United Methodist Church gave the prayers.

Following this ceremony, Legion members went out to The Laurels of New London for a short service with the help of Boy Scouts from Troop 217. Bailey again was honored and Roeder noted about 33 area men have been killed in war since World War I.

This was the first Memorial Day ceremony in front of the newly completed Veterans Monument, which was dedicated last year. Mayor John Martin said members of Girl Scout Troop 1117 planted the flowers around the stones and donations are still being accepted to help maintain the area. Memorial bricks are available for $80 and $150 and checks should be made out to New London Veterans Memorial Fund and sent to 115 E. Main St., New London OH 44851.

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