A Solanco graduate and a Solanco student will be the featured speakers at this year's Memorial Day ceremony in Quarryville.
"Our goal is to have a short but meaningful program," said Vietnam War veteran Ron Fichtner. Fichtner, who has organized the program since it began, said it is held in the morning to allow those attending to join in the commemoration.
"The people we are honoring have given so much, it seems little to ask to give up a bit of time to commemorate their sacrifice," Fichtner said.
Lt. Col. Philip Z. Atkinson will be the main speaker. He is a 1998 graduate of Solanco High School and went on to graduate from Penn State, where he was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
He has been an active duty officer since 2004. He served as a navigator with a B-1B bomber squadron and is now stationed at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Smith Middle School seventh grader Raif Groves will also speak at the ceremony on Monday, May 27. This will be Groves' third speech at the annual ceremony.
Members of Solanco High School's band will provide the music.
The Rev. John MacRae, retired pastor of Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, will offer the opening prayer and the benediction.
Members of the local American Legion and V.F.W. posts will place a wreath at the memorial pillars. Korean War veteran Merle Aukamp will read a poem written for the occasion.
This year's ceremony will be held at the entrance to Quarryville's Memorial Park, Park Ave., starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 27.
"We're asking people to bring their own chairs," Fichtner said.
If it rains, the ceremony will be moved to the Kreider Building at the neighboring Solanco Fairgrounds.
This will be the sixth annual commemoration held at the park entrance. Last year, more than 200 people attended. "Every year, the crowd grows," Fichtner said.
The pillars and adjacent memorials list the names of men and women who have given their lives during America's wars.
The pillars flanking the entrance were restored in 2013 and rededicated for Veterans' Day that year. The first Memorial Day commemoration was held in May, 2014. It marked the first time the community had celebrated the day in nearly 20 years.
"Once the memorial was rededicated, I thought it would be ideal to use it for its intended purpose," Fichtner said.