Toledo will kick off the Memorial Day celebrations with its annual parade in downtown Toledo on Saturday.
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. at the intersection of North Summit and Monroe streets. Marchers will proceed north on Summit, head west on Jackson Street, and finish at the Civic Center Mall, where a service will be held in honor of those who have fallen in wars. Nearby streets will close around 8:30 a.m.
“The parade is the celebration, but the most important part of the Memorial Day weekend is the service honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom today," said Robert Schmidt, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Memorial Day Association, a volunteer group. “Everybody has it backwards: it's not about the parade, it's about the service.”
The service at Civic Center Mall, which is expected to begin around 11:30 a.m., will include comments from elected officials, laying of wreaths at the war memorials, firing of rifles, and performances by vocalists.
This year, two U.S. Coast Guard men have been selected to be co-grand marshals for Toledo's Memorial Day activities: Lt. Cmdr. Charles Bright and Senior Chief Petty Officer Jay Galazin.
Commander Bright, a 22-year Coast Guard veteran, has served as the commanding officer of the Marine Safety Unit Toledo since July, 2012. Senior Chief Petty Officer Galazin is the officer-in-charge of the Toledo Coast Guard Station.
Mr. Schmidt said he expects about 5,000 people to attend the event. However, he said, this year's service will not begin with the traditional flypast of fighter jets because of government cuts on military agencies.
In addition to the parade and the service, the Memorial Day Association is sending volunteers this weekend to place flags on each of the 53,000 veterans' graves in Lucas County.
Surrounding communities are hosting a number of events Monday:
- Adrian — Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the National Guard Armory, head east on Maumee Street, and finish at Monument Park.
- Berkey — Service will be held at 9 a.m. at Berkey Cemetery.
- Bowling Green — Parade at 10:30 a.m., from the post office on the corner of Washington and Main streets to Oak Grove Cemetery, where a memorial service will take place.
- Findlay — Parade will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the American Legion on West Front Street, leading to the Maple Grove Cemetery, 1120 West Main Cross St., for a memorial ceremony.
- Fostoria — Service at 10 a.m. at Fountain Cemetery, 702 Van Buren St.
- Fremont — Parade at 10 a.m. starting at North Front Street and ending at Rodger Young Park.
- Genoa — Service at 9 a.m. at Clay Township Cemetery.
- Grand Rapids — Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Pirates Memorial Park and head downtown to Howard Park, where a ceremony will take place.
- Lakeside — Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Wesley Lodge between Fifth Street and Central Avenue and finish at Pavilion Circle in Central Park, where a ceremony will take place.
- Maumee — Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Maumee United Methodist Church, 405 Sackett St., and end at the intersection of Conant Street and Broadway, where a short memorial service will take place.
- Napoleon — Parade will begin at 10 a.m. from Henry County Fairgrounds, 821 South Perry St., leading to River Bridge and finishing at the War Memorial on East Washington Street for an official service.
- Oak Harbor — Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Oak Harbor Middle School, 315 Church St. and proceed to Union Cemetery.
- Perrysburg — Parade will start at 10 a.m. at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Fifth Street and end at the Fort Meigs Union Cemetery.
- Spencer Township — Service at 10 a.m. at Marygrove-Immaculate Conception Cemetery.
- Swanton — Complimentary breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. at Swanton VFW post, 105 South Main St. Parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Crestwood School and head to Swanton Memorial Park for a ceremony. It will be followed by a luncheon at the American Legion, 200 South Hallett Ave.
- Sylvania — Memorial ceremony at 9 a.m. at Toledo Memorial Park, 6832 Monroe St. near the Veterans Memorial Monument. The parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. at St. Joseph School, 5411 Main St., and head north through downtown to the Veterans Memorial Field. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m.
- Richfield Township - Service at 9:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Cemetery.
- Richfield Township - Service at 10:30 a.m. at Wolfinger Cemetery at Secor Park.
Contact Lorenzo Ligato at: email@example.com or 419-724-6091.