Using music to honor those who lost their life in service to protect their country has been a passion of  Bob Merrill since he first began at 13, as a drummer boy in the longtime Smyrna-Clayton Memorial Parade.


Using music to honor those who lost their life in service to protect their country has been a passion of  Bob Merrill since he first began at 13, as a drummer boy in the longtime Smyrna-Clayton Memorial Parade.

Now at 66, Merrill, the committee chairman of the Citizens’ Hose Company Band, will once again pay his respects to the fallen in melodic fashion, as he and his Citizens’ Hose brothers proudly march as the sole musical act in Saturday’s parade.

Here are five things to know about Monday’s Smyrna-Clayton Memorial Day ceremony.

1. Parade drums up inspiration
For Merrill, a retired Lt. Col. who served in the Army from 1969 to 1996, playing in Saturday’s parade will mark his 26th time.

The Citizens’ Hose will perform “Taps,” “America the Beautiful” and a variety of military anthems that commemorate each branch of service, said Merrill, of Smyrna. 

“It’s very important to me, I’m a veteran myself,” Merrill said. “I know a lot of people who fought for this country, so I think about them on Memorial Day.”

2. Memorial Day ceremony
Following the parade, a ceremony will be held at the Veterans Monument at the park on North Main Street. Brig. Gen. Scott E. Chambers, the assistant adjutant general for the Delaware Army National Guard, will be the guest speaker.

Chambers was promoted to assistant adjutant general in February of 2010 after serving as the commander of 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade in the Delaware Army National Guard. As the assistant adjutant general, Chambers ensures that all assigned units and personnel are fully trained, deployable and equipped for mobilization support for overseas contingency operations or any other homeland defense operation in support of national needs.

3. Flag donations
The Smyrna-Clayton Memorial Day ceremony organizers are requesting donations of flags for the Veterans Monument at Smyrna Municipal Park in time for the Memorial Day ceremony.

Along with the American flag which is 4’x6’, there are flags for each branch of the service which are 3’x5’ at the monument.

For information about making a flag donation, call event chairman Tate Coulbourne at (302) 363-6813 or email tcoulbourne@hotmail.com.

4. Army proud
As a former Army Sgt. — who served from 2000 to 2006, which included a 15-month tour in Iraq —Coulbourne is proud to have the opportunity to help organize the event, which will be his first time doing so as chairman. 

“I get to do something in return since I’m not in the Army anymore,” said Coulbourne, 29, of Smyrna. “I just want to make sure the parade and ceremony is worthy enough for the sacrifice [that the fallen soldiers] have made.”

5. In case of rain
If it’s raining on Monday, the parade will be canceled and the ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at American Legion Post 14 Ambulance Hall on Glenwood Avenue in Smyrna.