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Front Royal’s traditional Memorial Day event May 27, with nod to dogs of war

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Acknowledgment of the dogs of war and a parade of dogs present with their owners is an annual part of Front Royal’s Memorial Day event. Royal Examiner File Photos/Roger Bianchini

Four local veterans, one of whom died on the World War II battlefields of Europe, will be honored at this year’s Memorial Day ceremonies at Front Royal’s Gazebo on Monday, May 27, noon until 1 p.m.

As in past years, the Front Royal ceremony honoring the dead of all wars will include a salute to “the dogs of war” which will be blessed by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Vince McLaughlin of Rockland Community Church. Local dog owners are invited to attend with their dogs to participate in a brief parade across the downtown park area. McLaughlin will give the invocation and closing prayers.

Among this year’s honorees are retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Norman Brander. For many years Brander was a member of the Randolph-Macon Academy staff and president of the local chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA). The AFA, along with the Town of Front Royal, the Humane Society of Warren County, and the Warren County Rotary Club, is a co-sponsor of the event.

Wreath laying at previous event – World War II vet Phillip Funk on right is one of four deceased veterans – along with Marvin Reifsnider, Samuel Hallman and Norman Brander – to be honored at this year’s ceremony.

Also to be honored is U.S. Army veteran Philip Funk, a longtime Town employee who lived in Middletown, the father-in-law of Town Council member Eugene Tewalt, and his wife Juanita’s dad. Funk attended several of the Front Royal ceremonies. Also honored will be Marvin Reifsnider, who died earlier this year in his 104th year. Reifsnider lived in Rockland and was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II.

Samuel Albert Hallman, 21, was killed in action at the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 17, 1944. He was buried in Front Royal’s Pioneer Cemetery shortly thereafter. His younger sister, Charlotte Partlowe of Stephens City, and other relatives continue to visit his grave each year. For the first time, Hallman’s memory will be honored and his service recognized at the 2019 ceremony shortly before the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Europe. It was during the famed Battle of the Bulge that Hallman died.

Bagpiper Bill Wright will signify the start of the service, followed by a brass ensemble from the Skyline High School band, directed by Daniel Holland. Co-chairs Robert McDougall, U.S. Marine Corps, and Malcolm Barr Sr., of Britain’s Royal Air Force, will introduce the program and guests.

Featured speaker is Skip Rogers, founder and executive director of the Able Forces Foundation that provides assistance, financial and otherwise, to military and veteran families in crisis. The Front Royal headquarters is on Chester Street. At a Pentagon ceremony last September Rogers received the Department of Defense Spirit of Hope award, recognizing his work among disabled veterans. Rogers was a military police dog handler between 1968 and 1974.

Featured Memorial Day speaker Skip Rogers and base security team friend, when Rogers was a 19-year-old dog handler on a Nike Hercules missile site in 1969 – Courtesy Photo Skip Rogers

Retired USAF Master Sgt. Diana Lieber will lead the parade of dogs and Michael Williams, whose late father was a dog handler during the Vietnam war, will provide a brief history of the war dogs in an address from the podium.

Retired USAF T/Sgt.Tina Laing of R-MA supervises a group of R-MA cadets who will provide a guard of honor when the traditional wreath, provided by Fussell Florist, is laid by the heads of county and town governments, joined by Lt.Col. McDougall (USMC Reserve).

Following the ceremony, a picnic area will be opened behind the nearby Virginia Beer Museum where light refreshments will be available and free sodas for kids provided.

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Royal Cinemas reopening: This week’s showtimes as of June 5th

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Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, June 5:

•   Thursday: 12:55, 3:50 & 6:15
•   Fri – Wed: 12:55, 3:50 & 6:15
Rated PG  |  Run Time: 1 hour 55 min

•   Thursday: 1:10, 3:45 & 6:45
•   Fri – Wed: 1:10, 3:45 & 6:45
Rated PG  |  Run Time: 1 hour 30 min

•   Thursday: 12:45, 3:35 & 6:30
•   Fri – Wed: 12:45, 3:35 & 6:30
Rated R  |  Run Time: 1 hour 45 min


Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $3
  • Child (under 12): $3
  • Military: $3
  • Student (college): $3
  • Senior: $3
  • Matinees, All Seating: $3

Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:

  • “A Quiet Place Part II”
  • “Mulan”
  • “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”
  • “Black Widow”
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Faith Based Web Series by Northwestern Prevention Collaborative

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As COVID-19 continues to impact daily life, the Northwestern Prevention Collaborative is finding creative ways to respond to needs and offer support to the community. One way the Collaborative has adapted is by moving the annual Faith Based Symposium online. The Faith Based Web Series will maintain the mission of the original symposium, with an emphasis on the unique challenges brought on by COVID-19. With a focus on the intersection of stress/anxiety, COVID-19, and substance misuse in the community, the Collaborative hopes to share tools for taking care of a faith community during the pandemic.

Faith communities are already reaching out and meeting the needs of their members and neighbors in new ways. When asked about the series, Collaborative member Shannon Urum said, “We want to be able to provide information and resources that can help enhance these efforts and possibly lead to new opportunities to connect with and help individuals in need.” Collaborating with community partners is one of the foundations of the Northwestern Prevention Collaborative’s strategy for reducing opioid misuse and overdoses. Now more than ever, they recognize the need for support and sharing among partners.” Urum stated, “There is power in numbers and there is a role for everyone in helping to create a healthier community.”

The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 4th from 10:00-11:30am. Community members interested in attending can use THIS LINK to register. In keeping with their belief that everyone has a role in addressing the opioid epidemic, the Collaborative is excited to bring together leaders within the faith community for a morning of learning and collaboration.


About Northwestern Prevention Collaborative

Northwestern Prevention Collaborative is a partnership among three substance abuse coalitions in the Lord Fairfax Planning District, representing the City of Winchester and the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren. Focusing on the heroin/opioid epidemic, the collaborative has dual goals of preventing young people from abusing prescription drugs and reducing the number of heroin/prescription drug overdose deaths. Northwestern Prevention Collaborative is funded by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

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A successful Memorial Day commemoration ceremony held at Hidden Springs Senior Living Facility

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On May 25, 2020, The Colonel James Wood II Chapter, Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution combined with Hidden Springs Senior Living Facility to hold a commemoration ceremony in honor of Memorial Day. Due to the restrictions placed by the Coronavirus, several safeguards were instituted to protect participants, residents and staff. Face masks were worn except when giving presentations, and social distancing was in place. The residents were kept a minimum of 40 feet from the participants at all times.

Color Guard presenting the National and State Colors.

The ceremony began with the presentation of the colors. Reverend Jim Simmons led with an invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. After the colors were posted, Dale Corey gave a presentation on the history of Memorial Day and its significance. He was followed by presentations by Marc Robinson, Paul Christensen and Charles Jameson. There was a moment of silence and then a three round musket salute fired in honor of the fallen military from all wars.

In the United States, the beginnings of Decoration Day as it was originally known, began with the Civil War. Throughout the war, graves were decorated at locations where battles had been fought. After the war, a group of women of Columbus, George sent a letter to the press in March 1866 asking their assistance in establishing an annual holiday to decorate the graves of soldiers throughout the south. The result was a gathering interest in such a memorial celebration.

In May 1868, General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic made a proclamation to adopt the Memorial Day practice started three years earlier in the south. May 30th was declared as the day of commemoration with ceremonies in 183 cemeteries across 27 states. After World War I, the practice was changed to include honoring the veterans of all wars with the decoration of graves. The name was gradually changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.

Musket Squad preparing to fire a salute.

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This decreed that four holidays would be on a specified Monday to create a three day weekend. This included moving Memorial Day from May 30th to the last Monday in May. The law took affect at the Federal level in 1971 and was gradually adopted by all 50 states.

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Samuels Public Library Adult Programming events for June

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All of our programs will take place over Zoom and will require you to register on our website at samuelslibrary.net in the events tab. Zoom is accessible as a website or as an app you can download to your phone. If you need help setting up Zoom on your device, please call the Adult Reference desk at 540-635-3153 ext. 105.


Sculpting Words: A Poetry Writing Workshop

Join poet and educator Connie Stadler for a special six-week poetry workshop over Zoom. Space is limited. Registration Required. Tuesday, June 2nd at 6:00 P.M.

Books & Beyond Discussion Group

Join us for our book club discussion time! This program will take place over Zoom. You will need to provide an email as well as a device that has Zoom on it. Wednesday, June 3rd at 10:00 A.M.

How to Use Freading and RB Digital

This year’s Adult Summer Reading theme is Dig Deeper into Your Library! Join us as we dig deeper into our databases! Erly will be teaching us how to use Freading and RB Digital, two databases that provide ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines that are all accessible with your library card! This program will take place over Zoom. Wednesday, June 3rd @ 6:30 P.M.

Photographing Spring Wildflowers

Join Sharon Fisher on Zoom for her four-week class as she goes over how to take stunning pictures of wildflowers with any smartphone or camera! She will be advising on settings and how to find flowers in your yard. There will also be follow up discussion groups where you can share your work and get more advice. Saturday, June 6th @ 10:00 A.M.

Sculpting Words: A Poetry Writing Workshop

Join poet and educator Connie Stadler for a special six-week poetry workshop over Zoom. Space is limited. Registration Required. Tuesday, June 9th at 6:00 P.M.

How to Use Universal Class

This year’s Adult Summer Reading theme is Dig Deeper into Your Library! Join us as we dig deeper into our databases! Cameron Dillon will be teaching us how to use Universal Class, a database that offers hundreds of free classes on a variety of subjects! This program will take place over Zoom. Wednesday, June 10th at 6:30 P.M.

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A successful Memorial Day commemoration ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Park, Middletown

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Ms. Melissa Legge-Mauck performing the National Anthem in front of the Colonel James Wood II Color Guard.

On May 25, 2020, Middletown conducted a commemoration ceremony for Memorial Day at the Veterans Memorial Park. The ceremony was held to honor the members of the US Military who lost their lives in service to their country. Participating in the event with the town were the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2123 and the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution. Because of the restrictions due to the Coronavirus, the event was live streamed via the town’s facebook.

Ray Steele as emcee welcomed all to the event. The Colonel James Wood II Color Guard presented the colors and remained in place for an invocation by Danny Hesse, a rendition of the National Anthem by Melissa Legge-Mauck and the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by a presentation by Sheriff Lenny Millholland.

Memorial Day has its beginnings founded in the Civil War as remembrance of those gave their lives in that conflict. Starting out as Decoration Day, it was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to be a date “with the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country in the late rebellion.” After World War I, it came to reprdecoratesent a day to remember the deceased veterans of all wars. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which decreed the last Monday in May to be the National holiday Memorial Day.

Mayor Charles Harbaugh and Sheriff Millholland presented a wreath to honor all those who served and died the all of our wars. This was followed with a moment of silence. Taps was played by Andrew Paul which was followed by a rifle salute fired by VFW Post 2123 Honor Guard with support from the Colonel James Wood II Musket Squad. The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Danny Hesse to close out the event.

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A successful Memorial Day commemoration ceremony held at the Winchester National Cemetery

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Participating members of the Sons of the American Revolution from left to right: Chip Daniel, Clay Robinson, Dale Corey, Nathan Poe, Brett Osborn, Eric Robinson, Sean Carrigan, Marc Robinson and Paul Christensen.

On May 22, 2020, the National Cemetery in Winchester held a commemoration ceremony for Memorial Day. Participants included the Colonel James Wood II Chapter Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution, the American Red Cross, VFW Chapter 2123, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Community Veterans Engageme Board, and Heroes on the River. The ceremony was held to honor Americans who died in the military service of their country. There were brief remarks, a moment of silence, the playing of taps and presentation of wreaths.

The history of Memorial Day is complex. The decoration of graves began during the Civil War. The first fallen soldier so honored was John Quincy Marr, the first soldier killed in action in the Civil War. He died June 1, 1861, at the Battle of Fairfax Courthouse. He was laid to rest in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3.

Throughout the war and during the aftermath, graves were decorated at various locations. On May 5, 1868, General John Logan issued a proclamation calling for Decoration Day to be observed nationwide every year. He was the commander-in-chief of the Grand Old Army, an organization founded of and for Union Civil War Veterans in Decatur, Illinois. May 30 was the date selected for the decoration of Civil War graves. In 1868, ceremonies were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states. In 1871, Michigan declared Decoration Day to be a state holiday, and by 1890, all the northern states had decreed Decoration Day a state holiday. After the end of World War I, the day had been expanded from recognition of Civil War Veterans only to honor all of our military who died in the service of the country.

Wreaths presented at the commemoration ceremony. Pictured from left to right are Ashley Moslak, Marc Robinson, Adam Packham and Ralph Hensley.

The term Memorial Day was first used in 1882 and gradually became more common. In 1967, Congress passed a law declaring the official name to be Memorial Day. The following year, they passed the Uniform Holiday Act which moved four holidays to Monday, creating a three day weekend for those celebrations. Memorial Day was to be the last Monday in May, and the law took effect in 1971.

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