Captain Wilmetti Affirms The U.S. Must Continue To Be A Nation Worth Fighting For

by Paula McKibben   After days of on-and-off rain, it was a treat to see the sun this Memorial Day, May 29. There was a good turnout along the streets for the parade as well as at the cemetery.
   The parade was led by the American Legion color guard and followed by the girl scouts, the boy scouts, the BHS band, Ben Stahl (candidate for council), Gleaner and several emergency vehicles.
   Ceremonies at the cemetery began with a welcome by Commander of Post 382, Fred Rodabaugh. His welcome focused on the beginnings of Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day. According to the Commander, “It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic.”
   At that first memorial, sitting Ohio Congressman, James Garfield, spoke: “We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
   Chaplain of the Post, Basil Meyer, gave the opening prayer, followed by the raising of the flag by the Boy Scouts, the playing of the “National Anthem” by the band, and the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
   Police Chief and veteran, Ryan Burkholder, and his wife Kelli made a presentation of wreaths, referred to by Rodabaugh as providing “enduring memory” for our veterans.
   Then, Rodabaugh read aloud “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, a poem written as a result of World War I, the second stanza of which reads: “We are the Dead. Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,/Loved and were loved, and now we lie/In Flanders fields.”
   Speaker for the event was Captain Tim Wilmetti, an Army Chaplain in the Reserves and the minister at Bluffton First United Methodist Church since Sept. 2015. While doing post-graduate studies, he “felt called to consider serving in the military.” So, he applied to Chaplain training while continuing his education and seeking ordination. He was accepted and received a direct commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2012. His first assignment was to the 15th Psychological Operations Battalion in Cincinnati where he served for over four years. Having graduated from the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Jackson, SC, he was made a captain and accessioned to the role of Chaplain, being reassigned to the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion in Knoxville, TN, in 2016.
Bob Stratton and Wade Oberly took to the podium at this point to read the names of those veterans who died this past year: Billy Haller, army, Korea; Albert Ingalls, navy, World War II; Chauncey Basinger, army, World War II; Morris Groman, army, Korea; Bruce Marshall, marines, Vietnam; Darrell Yoder, army air corps, World War II; John Jack Shoupe, air force, Korea; Max Rodabaugh, army, Korea; Weldon Geiger, army, Korea; Allison Neuenschwander, army, Korea; Paul Cramer, air force, Korea; Bob Harris, marines, Vietnam; Richard Ruebush, army, Korea; Weldon Habeggar, army, Korea; Harold Rau, Army, Korea; Ralph Steiner, army, World War II; Wayne Marquart, army, Cold War; Milton Schutz, army, World War II; Charles Montgomery, army air corps, World War II; Lee Cookson, army, Vietnam; Evan Steiner, army, World War II; Jay Bricker, coast guard, Vietnam; and Joe Joseph, army, Vietnam. A bell chimed for each pronouncement.
   Rodabaugh took the podium again to announce that 714 flags had been placed by the American Legion on graves in Bluffton, Beaverdam and Richland Township, along with 27 flags at a cemetery on Thayer Road.
   At this point, the sergeant of arms led a 21-gun salute, followed by the playing of taps.
   Chaplain Meyer said a closing prayer.
   As Meyer finished, an aircraft flew over the cemetery. Rodabaugh commented, “This wasn’t planned, but we’ll take it,” to the amusement of those in attendance.

See the full story in the Bluffton News