Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 24, 2014

Annual Memorial Day tribute set for Monday in Chicory Square

BLUEFIELD — As the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival kicks into full gear this weekend, plans are also underway for a proper Memorial Day tribute to area war veterans.

The Riley Vest Post No. 9 unit of the American Legion will hold its annual Memorial Day celebration at Chicory Square in downtown Bluefield Monday beginning at 10:30 a.m., according to past post commander A.A. “Lon” Hopkins Jr.

Hopkins said area residents are asked to remember the real reason the nation celebrates Memorial Day.

“It is to honor our fallen heroes,” Hopkins said. And actually this started after the Civil War when they started decorating graves of those soldiers who died in the Civil War. Mainly it is to honor those men and women who have given their lives for their country.”

Michael Kessinger, a Vietnam War veteran and retired principal and educator, will serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s program.

Hopkins said the American Legion Post No. 9 has been holding the ceremony at Chicory Square — as part of the closing ceremonies of the Mountain Festival — for the past 31 years. Prior to that the program was held at other locations, including area cemeteries.

Monday’s program will begin with patriotic music followed by a raising of the colors by the Bluefield High School JROTC and a Memorial Day prayer by the Rev. Chuck Hammond. The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Post Commander Brian G. Krabbe and the National Anthem will be performed by Joey Ascue and Sunrise Productions. Members of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary will place the wreath at Chicory Square.

A moment of silence in memory of fallen war heroes will be held followed by the Riley Vest Post No. 9 rifle team and taps by Rev. David L. Hall Jr. of Bland Street United Methodist Church. Mel Grubb, post historian, will serve as the event photographer.

— Contact Charles Owens at

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