Memorial Day is a federal holiday on the last Monday in May to remember those who died for their country while in the armed forces. Originally called Decoration Day, an organization of Union veterans in 1868 established it as a day to decorate the graves of the fallen veterans with flowers.
Many towns, villages and townships observe the day with ceremonies to salute the veterans, including Hastings, Middleville, Hickory Corners, Nashville, Orangeville and Yankee Springs townships, and Caledonia. What follows is a listing of area activities on Sunday, May 28 and Monday, May 29.//
The Hastings American Legion Post # 45 annual Memorial Day Parade will be different this year with the completion of the Veteran’s Plaza at Tyden Park. The memorial to all veterans from all branches of the military service covering all the conflicts and wars has been several years in the planning.
It is now a reality and will be dedicated Monday, May 29.
The parade will begin at the corner of Boltwood and State Streets at 9:30 a.m. Post 45 Color Guard, followed by the Post’s Cooperative Honor Guard, will lead the parade west on State Street to Broadway, north on Broadway to Tyden Park and to Veteran’s Plaza.
Wreaths will be placed at the Soldier’s Civil War Monument and other monuments honoring all veterans. A rifle salute will be followed by the playing of Taps. The dedication of the plaza will then be conducted with presentation of the American flag as well as six flags representing the branches of the military services and POW-MIAs. The Hastings High School band will play the anthems of each branch of service and end with the national anthem.
Thirty Minutes later, the Riverside Cemetery service honoring the veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic will be conducted at the cemetery. The gravesite of the most recently buried veteran at the cemetery will receive a wreath, a rifle salute and the playing of Taps. As with previous years, no political signs, banners, sirens or horns, candy or pamphlets will be distributed.
“This parade and dedication are solemn occasions to honor military personnel who have given the ultimate sacrifice to uphold and defend the freedom and ideals of America,” said Jim Atkinson, parade chairman.
The Prarieville Memorial Day Parade begns at 1 .m., Monday, May 29.
Members of American Legion Post #305 will hold observances for fallen veterans at five cemeteries on May 29. The schedule: Alaska at 9 a.m., Blain at 9:45 a.m., Dutton at 10:30 a.m., Holy Corners at 11:15 a.m. and Caledonia at noon. The Main Street Memorial Day parade kick off follows.
Lake Odessa VFW Post 4461 marks Memorial Day on May 29 beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the Post Color Guard leading the Clarksville Memorial Day Parade to be followed by observances at Clarksville and Woodland cemeteries and by a final memorial at Lake Odessa’s Lakeside Cemetery.
Memorial Day activities begin with a pancake breakfast at the Hickory Corners Fire Department from 7 to 9:30 a.m. followed by the parade at 10 a.m. sharp starting at Cadwallader Park. The parade’s 125 to 150 participants, Shriner’s Mimi-T’s, Delton and Gull Lake high school bands, kids on bikes and Boy/Girl Scout Troops march to the East Hickory Corners Cemetery for a memorial service honoring departed comrades and a fly over by the Civil Air Patrol (weather permitting). Retired Colonel Frank Walker will be the guest speaker. A chicken bar-b-que at Simmonds-Williams American Legion Post 484 follows.
The annual Memorial Day Parade in Middleville steps off at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 29, from McFall Elementary school, the marchers stop at the Thornapple River Bridge to lay a wreath to remember those who served on the waters, and Taps, 21 gun salute,National Anthem and fireworks. At Hope Cemetery on East Main and Sheridan, there will be an invocation, a local veteran tribute, the National Anthem sung and signed by TKMS and first graders of Mrs. DeVries' class, a civilian fly over by Hastings Flying Club, Taps & echo, and a flag folding presentation by Boy Scout Troop #327. Breakfast is available at the United Methodist Church from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
This year’s Memorial Day Parade will begin on the north end of the village at 11 a.m. and march down Main Street, to Sherman, to Lakeview Cemetery for an observance to remember veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. The public is invited show up at 10 a.m. to walk, ride their tractor, or horse, or decorate your kids bikes and be in the parade. After the parade, everyone is invited to a potluck at VFW Post 8260. Bring a dish to pass.
The Memorial Day Service at the Veteran’s Monument at the Orangeville Township Hall begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 28.
Supervisor Tom Rook will welcome the visitors and introductions made by Trustee Robert Perino.
An invocation by Pastor Dan Bowman, from Orangeville Baptist Church, is followed by the Delton Kellogg Band under the direction of Sarah Knight, playing a medley of patriotic songs.
Guest speakers are: John Rolland, Brigadier General, U.S. Army Ret; Vivian Krewson, former Sergeant, U.S. Army; Ed Ellard, former Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army; Brad Vandenberg, former Sergeant, U.S. Army and Bill Owen, Brigadier General, U.S, Army, Ret.
A reading of the deceased Honor Roll of all known Orangeville Township veterans, the laying of a wreath at the monument and the Hastings American Legion Post #45 Honor Guard 21-gun salute will be followed by Taps, concluding the ceremony.
Yankee Springs Township:
The township hosts a Memorial Day service on Sunday, May 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the Yankee Springs Fire Station on Payne Lake Road.
Photo: Ceremonies at Riverside Cemetery in Hastings at an earlier Memorial Day observance.