Lt. Col. Charles Hardy will speak at the program which will begin at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Veterans Park. The program will also include a presentation of the wreath by Capt. Scot Ratcliff, who is the commanding officer of Charlie Company, 1140th Engineering Battalion, and the presentation of the colors by 1st Sgt. Dan Armour, who also serves with Charlie Company.
Retired Lt. Commander Gerald Beam with the U.S. Naval Reserves will offer the "Prayer of Remembrance" and personnel from Charlie Company will conduct a 21-gun salute. Greg Bain, a student at Sikeston High School, will perform "Taps." Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and American veterans will also participate in the ceremony.
It was under Hardy's command that the first artillery battery was activated in Afghanistan during the U.S. war on global terrorism. In Iraq, Hardy deployed as the "task force coordinator for Task Force American" serving in the Al Anbar province which includes the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah. During both tours, Hardy served with the 82nd Airborne Division, headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Currently Hardy is enrolled in the Army War College at Carlisle, Penn. His decorations include two bronze star awards, five meritorious service awards, master parachutist badge and other awards.
Ratcliff just completed a year combat tour in Iraq with the 1140th Engineering Battalion stationed in Sikeston and has 13 years service with the Missouri National Guard. Ratcliff, his wife, Denise, and their four children reside in Farmington.
A life-long resident of Sikeston, Armour was drafted into the service and served with an armored cavalry unit in Germany during the Vietnam-era. In 1981 he became a member of the Missouri National Guard and has over 30 years of military service. Like Ratcliff he just completed a year combat tour in Iraq and was the ranking non-commissioned officer of Charlie Company. Armor is married to the former Sondra Stewart and they have one son, Brent, who served a tour of duty in Iraq with his father.
Following the service, veterans and their families may attend a lunch hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary at the Post located on South Kingshighway.
In the event of rain, the Memorial Day Ceremony will be conducted at the First Christian Church.