Flag Folding Ceremony by Hocking Valley – Granville
Photo: The Hocking Valley Chapter Color Guard at Granville: L to R, Color Guard Commander Bob Davis, Bob Hill, Al Gummere, Chuck Bundy, Don Miller, Jeff Walt, Paul Irwin, Tom Hankins.
For the fourth time in a row, the Hocking Valley Chapter marched in the Granville, Ohio (Licking County) Memorial Day Parade and attended the ceremony at Maple Grove Cemetery where the parade ends. But this year was different and more special than the other years.
This year, the color guard was asked, with great honor, to perform it’s flag folding ceremony for the family of US Army 1st Lt. Michael Runyan, killed in Iraq in 2010. Michael was the focus of this year’s event, which included a jet fly-over in the Missing Man Formation.
Town council members witnessed the Hocking Valley flag folding ceremony at a DAR headstone dedication on April 30th and were quite impressed with its solemn ritual, and approached compatriot Tom Hankins with the idea of performing it on Memorial Day.
This year the crowd was nearly twice as large as usual, with an estimated 700 people filling up the cemetery hillside in front of the speaker’s stage. Compatriot Bob Hill read the meaning of each fold from the speaker’s lectern as compatriots Tom Hankins and Bob Davis folded the flag in front of the Runyan family seated in the first row. The folded flag was then presented to Michael’s parents, Jeffrey and Renee Runyan.
Of course, all veterans were recognized for their sacrifice by Mayor Melissa Hartfield, and various speakers from the American Legion, VFW and local students. But the losses became more personal when members of Michael Runyan’s family and friends spoke of his life ended too soon.
Music was provided by the Granville High School Marching Band and the adult “Land of Legend” Chorus. After the three volley rifle salute performed by the American Legion, the Hocking Valley Chapter was again honored by ending the ceremony with compatriots Davis and Hankins raising the cemetery National Colors from half staff to full staff at noon. Also, Columbus Channel Six provided coverage of the event, and the HVC Color Guard was in several scenes of the television news report. The Granville Sentinel-Newark Advocate newspapers also included the color guard in its coverage of Memorial Day.