Bartholomew County’s Memorial Day service to move from courthouse to Columbus City Hall

Republic file photo Columbus City Hall.

Tradition will have to make a few adjustments during the upcoming holiday weekend.

For the first time in several years, Bartholomew County’s annual Memorial Day service will have to be moved from its usual location.

Instead of next to the Bartholomew County Courthouse, this year’s observance will take place on the steps of Columbus City Hall. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved inside, event spokesman John Foster said.

The service begins at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 27.

The move was necessitated by construction taking place inside and outside the 150-year-old courthouse. For the next year, an anticipated $3.28 million will be spent to upgrade plumbing, replace 72,000 feet of data cables, install new carpeting, renovate lighting and other improvements.

The reading of the names of all Bartholomew County veterans who have died since last year’s service will be handled by Derika Arnold of the Myers-Reed Chapel. For environmental reasons, the observance no longer includes the release of one helium-filled balloon for each name. Instead, a bell is now rung.

The featured vocalist will be Matthew Pillar, while Michael Schmelz will perform taps after the Bartholomew County Veterans Honor Guard fires the traditional rifle volleys. The presentation of wreaths will still be conducted by the Gold Star Mothers, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliaries.

Solemn music will be provided by the Southern Indiana Pipes and Drums. As a fundraiser to assist veterans, members of VFW Post 1987 will be selling poppies for a $1 donation.

At 9 a.m., rose petals will be tossed into East Fork White River from the north side of the Robert N. Stewart (Second Street) Bridge. This ceremony honors all military personnel who died in U.S. Navy engagements.

At 10 a.m., the second ceremony will take place at the veterans’ section of Garland Brook Cemetery. Located in the northwest section of the cemetery, this observance is designed to have more of a religious component than traditional observances.

With more than 3,000 veterans buried in Columbus’ largest cemetery, this ceremony has been held annually since 1972.