Monday morning’s Memorial Day salute in Hillsboro was the most unusual, and yet moving, ceremony in recent memory.
Because of the threat of rain, the program was moved to the Hillsboro High School gymnasium.
Bleacher seats on one half of the gym were packed with people who appreciated the traditional ceremony in a dry setting that included everything expected, other than the normal parade.
However, all the usual marchers were present in the gym and took part in the program, including military veterans, flag bearers, Scouts, Firemen, the Hillsboro High School (HHS) band, the rifle salute team, and other guests including the program’s special speaker, Barbara Knopf, a Marine Corps veteran who still serves her country by owning and operating the Veterans Equine Trail Service (VETS) on her horse farm near La Valle.
She also addressed the HHS student body at a Veterans Day observation in November.
Hillsboro Wesleyan Church Pastor Roger Miller opened the program with a prayer, and Mayor Greg Kubarski welcomed visitors and delivered a short address.
American Legion Commander Richard Sebranek thanked all the visitors and those participating in the event before leading the Pledge of Allegiance, after which the HHS band played “The Star Spangled Banner.”
An unusual rifle salute was then presented after a team of veterans left the gymnasium, leaving those in attendance wondering how it would be accomplished.
The official salute was easily heard in the gymnasium after. Presumably, the rifle team opened the entrance doors before firing their rounds outside.
Knopf highlighted the program with a speech that captured the day’s theme of remembrance and appreciation for the many American military heroes, especially those who gave their lives to preserve our freedom.
The program finished with a duet version of “Taps,” featuring an echo effect that accounted for more than one patriotic tear at the ceremony.
UPDATE: The band director was identified incorrectly. Jeremy Henning is the Hillsboro band director. The caption has been revised accordingly.