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Front Royal’s Memorial ‘Dog’ Day on the Horizon

4 May 2016 News

FRONT ROYAL, Va. – Principals have been announced for Front Royal’s distinctive Memorial Day event to be held at noon, Monday, May 30th at the Town Gazebo in the restaurant-friendly Historic Downtown Business District.

Vicar Michael Williams, an R-MA faculty member, will moderate the event, now in its 5th year. Williams is an appropriate choice – his father was a military dog handler in the Vietnam era – AND Front Royal’s event is DISTINCTIVE because it features a tribute, not only to the human casualties of war and their families, but also the K-9 companions who have accompanied America’s soldiers into battle through the last two centuries.

Front Royal’s connection to war dogs dates to World War II, when they were trained from 1942 for the U.S. Army at the Remount Depot on the Town’s south side.

Members of the public are invited to bring their leashed dogs to participate in a blessing and short parade to honor their active-duty K-9 brethren.

Randolph-Macon Academy President and U.S. Air Force Brigadier General (retired) David Wesley, and Front Royal Mayor Tim Darr, will place the Memorial Wreath. Members of the Skyline High School Band will participate; and its Director Ben Lombardo will play “Taps.”

Robert MacDougall, Front Royal businessman and a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, was recently named co-chair of the event by Malcolm Barr, who brought this Memorial Day event to life five years ago. MacDougall expects the ceremony to last about an hour and will feature an honor guard provided by Blue Ridge Young Marines, sponsored by the Elks Club of Front Royal.

Barr said the local ceremony also will mark the 70th anniversary of the Air Force Association, represented by local AFA chapter chairman, retired Master Sgt. Norman Brander.

Diana Lieber, with her service dog from House of Hope, will lead the K-9 parade. German Shepherd Rescue and Warren County Humane Society volunteers with adoptable dogs from both organizations will also participate.

Barr said veterans of World War II will again be attending as they did last year. But he particularly invites veterans of more recent wars – Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq – and their families to attend the 2016 event so their service may be recognized.

In addition to the Air Force Association, other event sponsors include Fussell Florist and ERA Brown & Rutherford Realty.

Submitted by Roger Bianchini

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