Communities plan Memorial Day observances

The Wauseon High School band marches in last year’s Memorial Day parade.

The Wauseon High School band marches in last year’s Memorial Day parade.

File photo

People from throughout the nation will be observing Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries, memorials, family gatherings, and either attending or participating in parades. This day honors the men and women who gave all they could and died while fighting for freedom and liberty while serving the U.S. military.

Wauseon Union Cemetery will once again host the city’s Memorial Day observances, Monday, May 30. At this year’s event the speaker will be Pastor Don Krieger.

Pastor Krieger will be offering a special insight into the special meaning behind the purpose of Memorial Day. Krieger was a medic with the 101st Airborne Army. He entered service in 1968 and was wounded during the initial stage of the Vietnamese Battle for Hamburger Hill. He spent seven months hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center, before being released from active duty.

Most recently he has served as the pastor at Zion United Methodist Church.

The Memorial Day parade starts at the intersection of West Elm and Clinton streets at 9:30 a.m., and will head west on Elm Street to the cemetery. Among those in the parade will be Ann Spieles, the Homecoming Queen, and the Wauseon High School Band.

A half hour later, at 10 a.m., ceremonies begin at the war memorial. (In case of rain the service will re-assemble at the Wauseon High School Auditorium, beginning at 10:30 a.m.)

Following a welcome from Terry Estel, Pledge of Allegiance by VFW Commander Clint Short, and invocation by Pastor Maryann Reimund, there will be several other speakers. WHS junior Ashton Meraz, son of Jesus and Christy Meraz, will present the Gettysburg Address. Samantha Stein, WHS senior and daughter of Johnathan and Sandra Stein, will present Flanders Field.

The WHS Chorale, under the direction of James Vaughn, will be presenting an arrangement from “Flanders Field.”

Swanton and Delta

The Memorial Day parade will return to Swanton this year.

It will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of Main and Church streets. The parade will travel south on Main Street to Memorial Park.

There will be a special performance by the Swanton High School band.

The public is also invited to a BBQ lunch at the Swanton American Legion post on Hallett Avenue, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The Delta American Legion is holding a Memorial Day ceremony at Greenlawn Cemetery on Memorial Day at 10 a.m. Rev. Floyd Shoup, member of the Delta American Legion and semi-retired pastor will be the guest speaker.

A parade will precede the event starting at 9:30 a.m. It will go from the corner of Main and Wood streets, and head west, ending at the cemetery. All are invited to participate. Once all have arrived at the cemetery the service will start.

The order of those participating in the parade is American Legion Color Guard, American Legion/S.A.L. Firing Squad, Pike-Delta-York band, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Delta Eagles and Auxiliary, general public, and Delta Fire Department.

In the case of rain, there will not be a parade. However, there will be a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. at the Delta American Legion Post located at the corner of State Route 109 and County Road F.

Is it Memorial Day or Decoration Day?

Both are correct. Memorial Day was originally referred to as Decoration Day. Shortly after the American Civil War, General John A. Logan, played a pivotal role in its creation. Logan, who served in the war from 1861 to 1865, was born in Illinois, served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and was a candidate for vice president.

The war veteran said, “The 30th of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Approximately 620,000 soldiers were killed in that Civil War – more than any other conflict in American history.

Over time, Decoration Day became most recently known as Memorial Day and for a long time was observed on May 30. In 1968 the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act and Memorial Day was officially recognized on the last Monday of May. This law went into effect in 1971.

The Wauseon High School band marches in last year’s Memorial Day parade. Wauseon High School band marches in last year’s Memorial Day parade. File photo