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Chicora honors veterans with Memorial Day Parade

Steve McKinney performs Amazing Grace on bagpipes during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

CHICORA — Dozens of men and women from Butler County who have served our nation overseas descended on Chicora on Memorial Day, May 27, for the town’s annual Memorial Day parade.

“I have nothing but great things to say about this event,” said Capt. Katee Coleman of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, who served as a keynote speaker for the event. “I think that every small town in America should have an event like this. Chicora definitely ranks up there with Memorial Day parades, with the community support and the parade participants that show up.”

Although a driving rain fell on Butler County on Monday morning, and dark clouds were still overhead for much of the morning, conditions dried by the time the parade began.

Local veterans of all American-fought wars were welcomed and honored in Chicora on Monday afternoon, including Ron Huff, a Vietnam War veteran who was named the Butler County Veteran of the Year for 2017. Huff served from 1963-67.

“When you come down Main Street, you get a feeling of pride,” Huff said. “It makes my heart swell. I cry, the way the people in this town react and take care of the veterans.”

Hours before the parade kicked off at 10 a.m., borough residents packed the corner of Slippery Rock and Main street to get a good view of the procession of vehicles. These included emergency vehicles from Chicora, Karns City, Bruin, Herman, East Butler, and other municipalities, along with antique farm equipment.

Also taking part in the parade were some vehicles from the Syria Shriners, as well as the Karns City Area Jr./Sr. High School Marching Band. Many of those taking part in the procession tossed candy from their vehicles or floats for children to rush onto the street and pick up.

After the parade, the scene shifted to the memorial park on Main Street for the annual ceremony which honors the veterans who died during the past year.

At last year’s ceremony, the theme was the Korean War. This year, the theme was the Constitution and what our nation’s veterans do to protect and uphold it.

“I just spoke about what the soldiers and sailors of America are upholding, and how that relates to the Constitution,” Coleman said.

American Legion Post 642 — which co-sponsored the event — honored local veterans Bruce Campbell and Dave Fleeger with the “Legionnaire of the Year” awards for representing the Legion and doing their duties to the best of their ability.

Toward the end of the ceremony, the American Legion handed out its annual award for the best eight-grade students in the area, with an award each for best male and female student. The male award went to Cody Kiser, while the female award went to Madison Mahood.

The students are in the same class at Karns City Jr./Sr. High School. For the award, students were asked to write and submit an essay on what “citizenship” means to them.

“Citizenship to me is not just about living in an area,” Kiser said. “It's about doing stuff for your community and your peers.”

“It's just little actions that That make others feel good,” Mahood said. “Like saying ‘hi’ to younger peers in the hallway.”

From left, David Fleeger presents the female student award to Madison Mahood, as parents Melissa and Tyler Mahood watch on, during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
David Fleeger speaks during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Charles Hetrick announces the Legionnaires of the Year during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Charles Hetrick announces the Legionnaires of the Year during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
The Karns City Area Jr./Sr. High School marching band marches during the Memorial Day parade in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
The Karns City Area Jr./Sr. High School marching band performs God Bless America during the Memorial Day ceremony in Chicora on Monday, May 27. William Pitts/Butler Eagle

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