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Evans City Memorial Day returns to great reception

Sawyer Berty, a member of Scout Troop 399 of Evans City, places an American flag in a marker at Evans City Cemetery on Sunday, May 26, during a Memorial Day service. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle
Commander Brad Davidson, U.S. Army, retired, speaks at the Evans City Cemetery Memorial Day ceremony on Sunday afternoon, May 26. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle

JACKSON TWP — Although it had been years since the Evan City Cemetery hosted a Memorial Day service, the area was populated with people paying their respects on Sunday, May 26.

Dean McMillen, the longtime organizer of the event, died in 2018 and the Evans City American Legion closed two years ago. Add in the coronavirus pandemic, and the Memorial Day service took a hit.

Frank Moore, coordinator of the event, said he and R.J. Volz, a member of the Evans City Cemetery Association board of directors, decided last year to bring the ceremony back in 2024. Over the past week, Moore and Volz planted more than 1,000 flags on veterans’ graves at the cemetery in preparation for Sunday’s ceremony.

The crowd of at least 100 people at the ceremony Sunday led Moore to believe bringing the ceremony back was the right decision.

“Absolutely incredible the community support, involvement, it’s very heartfelt,” Moore said.

Commander Brad Davidson, U.S. Army, retired, who is originally from Evans City, was the ceremony's guest speaker, and told the crowd gathered that he would not have been there if not for the people he served alongside of in the military, some of whom didn't make it out alive.

Davidson he was happy to speak at the Memorial Day ceremony after being invited by Moore, his longtime friend, because he has been to many funerals for his comrades over the years who he wanted to pay respect to by speaking.

“(I did) over 25 years flying off aircraft carriers, I did a ground tour in Afghanistan in 2008 and I came through my military career unscathed,” Davidson said, followed by a pause. “A lot my friends did not. It’s because of their sacrifice that I’m here.”

As part of the ceremony, Scout Troop 399 from Evans City planted flags in each marker representing a war fought by U.S. military personnel. The flags were placed in honor of everyone who died in each war, from the Revolutionary War to the current day.

A couple from the borough read off the names of military veterans from the area who had died since 2021, which included more than 20 people.

Members of the Butler County Honor Guard hoist a flag up the flagpole in Evans City Cemetery during a Memorial Day service Sunday afternoon, May 26. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle

The Ehrman Crest Middle School band performed songs during the ceremony, followed by a 21-gun salute by the Honor Guard.

Moore said at the event he was proud to see the Evans City community attend the ceremony. A descendant of two military grandfathers, Moore said his connection to the ceremony was more personal than just living in a town with such an extensive cemetery.

“Evans City does remember its fallen,” Moore said. “My grandfather was MIA, killed in action in Korea; my other grandfather was in World War II. He jumped for the 101st Airborne.”

Frank Moore, the coordinator of the Memorial Day ceremony in Evans City, right, embraces his longtime friend, Commander Brad Davidson, U.S. Army, retired, who spoke at the service Sunday, May 26. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle

Davidson, too, said the fact that so many people attended an event that hasn’t happened in years reinforced his love of his home community.

“It really is something the community … cares about,” Davidson said. “They honor their veterans and their service people. It’s nice to see that the community wants to honor their veterans and by reestablishing this, it gives them the opportunity.”

Frank Moore coordinated the first Memorial Day ceremony to take place at the Evans City Cemetery in years, and acted as its emcee on Sunday, May 26. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle
Dean Louchena, of Scout Troop 399, places a flag in a holder that memorializes veterans at Evans City Cemetery on Sunday, May 26. Eddie Trizzino/Butler Eagle

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