Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 25, 2014

Marking Memorial Day

Perfect weather, park setting and meaningful program combine for salute to veterans

ASHLAND — With ample shade for the crowd, Sunday’s scene in Central Park seemed ideal for the city’s annual Memorial Day Salute to Veterans.

Peanuts the Clown provided a small army with balloon swords and helmets, poodle-like animals and fancy hats as people gathered at the park’s bandstand, found places to sit and fan themselves under blues skies littered with cottonball clouds.

Nick Kuhn of KEE-100 FM welcomed the audience and introduced Ashland Commissioner Kevin Gunderson, who introduced fellow commissioners and welcomed the crowd on behalf of the mayor. Jacob Dotson of Grayson First Baptist Church offered the invocation and Megan Dotson performed “My Old Kentucky Home.” Mike Wurts of Amvets Post 95 led the audience in the pledge of allegiance, and explained the symbolism of each item on the small POW-MIA table set up at the edge of the stage.

Denver Eldridge, a World War II veteran who served on a minesweeper in the Navy, and “will be 90 on my next birthday,” read “A Ragged Old Flag.” Victor Wilson of Calvary Episcopal Church sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Members of the contemporary Christian band Render the Hearts brought youthful energy to the stage with a set that included an updated version of “Amazing Grace.” Made up of vocalist Mike Cochran, who also played bass and guitar, along with drummer Joe Crowe, harmonica player and bassist Heath Lafferty, keyboard player Shane Stevens and guitarist Raice Stevens, the band provided a blend of praise and modern rock that seemed to suit the spirited mood of the afternoon.

As the sun crossed the afternoon sky, shifting the audience’s seating arrangements as shade lines traveled, members of the band Chain Reaction entertained with a mixture of original songs and classic rock, also paying tribute to local musician Michael Murphy with a cover of his song, “Old Cheap Wine.” Chain Reaction is made up of Tom Wintz, Brenden Wintz, Larry Deerfield and Tom Hall.

“I’m glad I wore this black shirt,” said Tom Wintz as the heat of the day became evident a few songs into Chain Reaction’s show.

Headlining the afternoon celebration, the band Outrider, made up of Ish Stevens, Jesse Waddell, Josh Bator and Justin Butler, provided a high-energy conclusion to the Memorial Day celebration.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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