Smith Middle School student Raif Groves will be giving his second speech at the annual event. In 2017, he delivered a speech that had earned him a prize at the Cocalico speech competition.
This year's speech will be about personal sacrifice, he said last week.
"I took the story from the Vietnam War and the sacrifice of the soldiers. I didn't have a specific individual in mind, but I wanted to talk about how difficult it is to cope in situations like that. … I try to capture the spirit of soldiers and what they went through then, being so far from home and in a firefight" he said. "But I don't want to be pretentious and sound like I know everything."
Groves researched his topic, using his history books and magazines.
"I had to think of a topic and use the media I had to put together a speech that relates to people," he said.
The speech is written and now he's fine tuning and memorizing it.
He's not nervous about the presentation.
"I have never had trouble with stage fright," the sixth grader said.
Ron Fichtner, who organizes the annual Memorial Day commemoration, heard Groves speak and invited him to last year's ceremony. Groves' speech was so well received Fichtner decided to ask him to come back for the 2018 ceremony.
"Mr. Ron wanted to get more children involved," Groves said.
Quarryville native and U.S. Army veteran Ryan Aument will also speak. Now the state senator from northern Lancaster County, he served two terms in the Commonwealth's house of representatives and as the county's clerk of courts. Earlier he had been a member of Quarryville Borough Council and worked as Rep. Bryan Cutler's chief of staff.
A graduate of The Citadel, he served as an infantry company commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He and his wife, Kate, have two children, John David and June. They live in Mountville and are members of Grace Church at Willow Valley.
Pastor Chris Eden will deliver the invocation. An ensemble of the Solanco High School band will provide patriotic music, and Merle Aukamp will read a poem written for this year's event. Members of the local American Legion and V.F.W. posts will place a wreath at the memorial arches.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28.
It will be held near the arches that flank the entrance to Memorial Park, Park Ave. at S. Lime St., Quarryville. "If it rains, we will move to one of the [nearby] Solanco Fair buildings," Fichtner said. Those attending should bring lawn chairs or blankets.
The ceremony has been growing since it was revived in 2014, a year after the rebuilt memorial arches were dedicated. "Last year, we had close to 200 people," Fichtner said.
Keeping the ceremony part of the community is important, Groves said.
"I want Memorial Day to be a day of remembrance of those who have fallen. It should be more than just a start to the summer vacation season," he said.