Honoring the fallen: Memorial Day parade called off but other events to continue in Alpena on Monday

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz The large American flag at the boat harbor in Alpena waves in the wind on Tuesday. On Monday, there will be many flags on display for Memorial Day.

ALPENA — In Alpena on Monday, the annual Memorial Day ceremony will offer a salute to the fallen and a tip of the cap to the family and friends who lost a loved one while they served the United States.

This year’s event will differ a little from past years, as the parade from the Alpena County Courthouse to Little Flanders Field will be removed from the itinerary.

Alpena County Veterans Council volunteer Aggie Ferguson, who helps plan the Memorial Day events, said local groups don’t want to have the parade on the bi-path and there wasn’t enough time to hash out a road closure for M-32 with the Michigan Department of Transportation, so the parade will be suspended.

She added that the plan is to continue communications with state officials so a parade can be held on Veterans Day and Memorial Day next year.

According to Ferguson, Memorial Day events in Alpena will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a ceremony at the courthouse where Kevin Morgan, assistant veterans counselor for Alpena County, will be the master of ceremony and guest speaker.

Once the first memorial ceremony wraps up, it will move to Little Flanders Field where a second ceremony will be held at 11 a.m.

The event will begin with the ceremonial wreath being tossed into the Thunder Bay River to pay tribute to the soldiers who were lost at sea and then the balance of the ceremony will commence with students from Alpena High School singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

According to Ferguson, Bob Amlotte will MC the event, and this year’s guest speaker Todd Smalenberg, a retired Marine, will address the crowd.

After Smalenberg’s speech, wreaths will be placed in front of the rows of white crosses marking those from Alpena who perished while serving.

Wreaths were also placed near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, for the missing in action and prisoners of war, and for those who were impacted by Agent Orange.

A rifle salute and the playing of “Taps” will wrap up the event.

Memorial Day weekend may be the unofficial beginning of summer and feature many family bar-b-ques and vacations, but the holiday is somber for many.

The celebration of those who lost their lives while serving in the military to protect and preserve our nation’s freedom and assist our allies, should not be forgotten amidst all of the other plans for the long weekend.

Memorial Day, which is dedicated to those who lost their lives, is different from Veterans Day when all military, alive or deceased, are honored.

Regardless, many people find it appropriate to honor all veterans during each holiday.

Veterans Day is on Nov. 11.


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