Area takes time to remember
Crowds gather in local towns to mark Memorial Day
|A young parade-goer in Imlay City salutes veterans as they march down Almont Ave. on Monday morning. For more photos of Memorial Day events from around the area, turn to page 6-A. photo by Maria Brown.|
May 28, 2008TRI-CITY AREA — Despite the threat of rain, hundreds came out to Imlay City to honor America's fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.
Veterans of all ages, auxiliary members, Boy and Girl Scouts and the Imlay City High School Marching Band marched through the downtown streets. A ceremony was held at the memorial in front of the Ruth Hughes Memorial Library.
Recognized were soldiers who'd recently returned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, Andy Lupo and Alex Lengemann, and veterans who've passed away in the last year.
"Today is a day that makes me very proud to be an American," auxiliary member Mavis Roy said.
In Almont, gloomy skies gave way to sunshine and sobering sentiments as members of Almont's American Legion and Auxiliary hosted their annual Memorial Day ceremonies.
With about 75 residents on hand at Burley Park, Vietnam veteran Joe Cain reminded the crowd of the importance of setting aside a special day to honor those who died while serving.
"Memorial Day is more than another long weekend," Cain noted. "It is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Today we are reminded that freedom has a very high price."
Others taking part in the ceremony were Auxiliary President Nedra Beal, who offered a speech and poems on behalf of American servicemen and women; David Owens, who sang several patriotic songs; and a rifle salute and honor guard.
A gathering followed at the American Legion hall, including hot dogs, chips and refreshments served by Auxiliary members.
Capac honored its servicemen and women on a warm breezy Monday morning with a parade that marched down Main Street with a brief stop for prayer and to lay a wreath at the Memorial rock.
About 200 observers lined the streets, then gathered at the Mussey Township Cemetery for remembrance and celebration of the bravery shown by the country's soldiers.
"This is a day of reconciliation, a day of healing as a nation," Pastor Joan Christoffer of St. John's Lutheran Church said to the crowd. "We can't forget those who are doing this, giving us this gift (of freedom)."
The Capac High School band played the National Anthem followed by Taps. Members of the Capac VFW then honored the nation's fallen with a 21-gun salute. In conclusion, area Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts laid a wreath in remembrance and returned the American flag to full-staff.
There were smiles on their faces and a spring in their walk this Memorial Day for the Dryden veterans recalling the page in history they wrote and continue to write. Some retired from civilian jobs now are in the National Guard and stepping boldly into another war that's become controversial.
"We got to take it to them, rather than have them over here," says Gulf and Iraq war Sgt. First Class Ronald Kent of Dryden.
Lifer Marine Sgt. David Smith and Private James Delmotte say it's all about making a difference.
"Around 700 to 800 Marines have trained 5,200 Iraq forces," Smith says. "We didn't do a patrol without them and their good people. They view us as their big brother, but we're really just Brothers in Arms. We do humanitarian aid; distribute over-sized grocery bags full of food and we distribute blankets and clothing."
Viet Nam War hero, Specialist 4th Class Jim Schenkel accomplished 31 missions in Nam and was awarded two purple hearts.
"Yes, it was rough over there," says Schenkel.
For the first time this Memorial Day, the Air Force flew over during the ceremonies. The Air Force visited 14 different towns that day.