Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day brings horses and horseless carriages to Thompson


Bowed heads, or burning rubber? You’ll find both in Thompson. Especially on a warm-weather holiday.

This township in northeastern Geauga County is the sort of community one might envision when describing the essences of midwestern living. Traditional values, a strong family structure, and faith-based activities are plentiful here. Yet this point on the map is still known to many Ohio residents as the home of NHRA-sanctioned Drag Racing.

The weekend offered a series of ‘Asphalt Wars’ and regular competition at Thompson Raceway Park. But Memorial Day was observed with a traditional parade and ceremony on the township square. Featured were a color guard of local veterans, and a mounted officer in full-dress uniform. Marching musicians from Ledgemont High School joined members of the fire and police departments in this celebration. Their procession opened the holiday services with much pomp and pageantry.

After an interlude of patriotic songs, Geauga County Auditor Tracy A. Jemison addressed the crowd with a message about the significance of this special day. Lincoln’s famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ was also read aloud, in keeping with holiday traditions. It was a moment when citizens seemed to be united in their gratitude for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for American liberty.

After the ceremonies in Thompson, visitors walked to the township cemetery where a 'roll call' of heroes was commenced. The names began with fallen soldiers of the Revolutionary War, and concluded in remembering those who perished more recently, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Not everyone was content to observe the day with leisure activities, however. Ladies from the United Methodist Church used their on-the-square venue to conduct a benefit plant sale for those suffering from gardening fever. The flowering goods on display proved able to stop traffic dependably, as holiday travelers passed through the township on Route 528.

Meanwhile, at Raceway Park, preparations were being made for the next slate of tire-shredding shootouts, to be held on Friday. High-octane fuel and new-mown hay filled the rural air with potent aromas of a summer on the way.

Moving on wheels, hooves, or just humble scraps of shoe leather – it was a day to remember our heroes through prayer and reflection.

A color guard of local veterans led the parade.

The Thompson gazebo provided a perfect venue for Memorial Day observances.

Patriotic songs brightened the day of celebration.

The Ledgemont Marching Band entertained guests with their exciting performance.

From Ledgemont Twirlers to Thompson Police, everyone was on hand for Memorial Day.

A mounted officer added pomp and pageantry to the parade.

Megan Webber enjoyed puppies that were brought from the Geauga Humane Society.

Geauga County Auditor Tracy A. Jemison addressed the crowd.

Thompson Town Hall offered shade for visitors who attended.

Jamie Ice enjoyed the festivities with her daughter, Carly.

Video of the Memorial Day Parade in Thompson.


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