~ PVN staff report
The Town of Shenandoah will be hosting a drive-up Memorial Day service at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 25 at the Shenandoah Assembly of God complex at 311 Comertown Road (see photo).
Despite an April 28 decision by the Shenandoah Heritage Center Committee to cancel the annual Memorial Day weekend activities, the mayor and the town pulled together a last-minute plan to host a new version of an old tradition.
“Where there is a will there is a way,” Town Manager Juanita Roudabush said in an email announcing the event. “And for 23 consecutive years, Mayor Lucas and the Town of Shenandoah (Page County, VA) will be part of a service honoring those who gave all.”
Mayor Clinton Lucas will be addressing the gathering of vehicles at the fields adjacent to Shenandoah Assembly of God along Comertown Road. The Kite family will be singing, and Pastor Jimmy Kite will be “giving a message of hope.”
Hope is certainly alive, as this year’s Memorial Day service was still canceled as of an email sent out by the town manager at 8 a.m. on Saturday that started off:
“Every year Mayor Lucas honors fallen military members and specifically memorializes those from Virginia at a ceremony as a part of the Town’s Annual Memorial Festival. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Memorial Ceremony and Festival had to be cancelled this year.”
Despite their belief that there would be no ceremony, the Town of Shenandoah “still wanted to take this time to honor” two fallen soldiers:
• Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin, from Newport News, VA, who passed away January 11, 2020 supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. McLaughlin was one of two soldiers killed in action when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
• Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Richard Saldana, from Manassas, VA. Saldana was declared deceased July 30, 2019 while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was listed as duty status “Whereabouts Unknown” following a July 17, 2019 non-combat, man overboard incident in the Arabian Sea and was pronounced deceased on July 30, 2019.
“Mayor Lucas, Council, Employees, and Citizens of the Town of Shenandoah thank [them] for [their] service and sacrifice for our freedoms, and we all send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Saldana,” the notice from the town reads.
Those attending Monday’s Memorial Day service are encouraged to bring a chair to set up next to their vehicle, or in the bed of a truck; however, social distancing must be observed.
The ceremony can be heard by those in attendance by tuning the radio in their vehicle to 87.9 FM.
Roudabush stated in her email that, “According to published reports, 36 United States military have died since last Memorial Day. Help us honor and remember them all.”
In spreading the word yesterday of the new plans for Monday’s ceremony, the town manager added: “Please share the following with our hopes that everyone remembers — Memorial Day is more than a day off work and a picnic. Some gave all.”