Kilmarnock launches annual salute to Hometown Heroes

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

America’s Sweethearts brought history to life through song. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Jim Ray takes a photo of Sandy Ray posing next to a banner of her father, C. Edward LaBute. The Rays moved to the area permanently a year ago and love the Hometown Heroes project. They purchased a banner to pay tribute to her father, who died in 2008. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

It was only fitting that on Armed Forces Day some 400 people, including veterans and their families, gathered at the Kilmarnock Fire Department to celebrate Hometown Heroes.

The “Celebrating Hometown Heroes” is a walking tour honoring and remembering military veterans from World War I through Desert Storm with banners placed throughout the town’s Steptoe’s District. It began in May 2015 when 72 banners were hung on light posts and in businesses throughout town. Originally, the town had hoped to sell about 25 that first year. About 300 people attended that first preview party.

Last Saturday, some 400 people filled the firehouse on School Street when 39 new banners were unveiled, bringing the total of banners flying in Kilmarnock to 171, according to master of ceremonies Dennis Burchill…