Take part, take time to remember.
Area residents are being encouraged to attend Memorial Day activities set for Saturday in downtown Toledo.
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. from Summit Street, winding its way to near the Civic Center Mall at Michigan Street for a memorial service starting about 11:30 a.m. against a backdrop of monuments, flags, and carved-in-stone tributes to men and women who served their country during war time.
Grand marshal for the parade and guest speaker at the memorial service will be Lt. Commander Vidal Valentin, commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center in the Toledo area. He will celebrate his 25th year in the service on Sunday.
Lucas County Commissioner President Carol Contrada, as plans were announced Monday, said the memorial service location serves as a special place to remember the veterans, noting that one of the largest monuments is engraved with a message: “A Grateful City pays tribute to its honored dead.” The monument is situated near an eternal flame that flickers atop a large star.
Wreaths will be placed on various monuments during the service. One memorial at the Civic Center Mall pays tribute to the patriotism of the 333 Toledo men who gave their lives for their country in World War I.
Veterans of World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq are remembered as well on plaques, and a memorial urn is dedicated to the “memory of our fathers” who served during the Civil War, 1861-1865.
Robert Schmitt, president and memorial service chairman of the Toledo Lucas County Memorial Day Association, said the Memorial Day service gives area residents an opportunity to salute and pay respects to those who protected them and now protect America and its freedoms.
Depending on weather, the annual event draws 5,000 to 20,000.
Right now, 83-year-old Norm Burrow of Toledo is putting finishing touches on the event. Parade marshal for the Toledo Lucas County Memorial Day Association, he said seven of the best bands in Ohio will take part in the parade. In his 15th year as parade marshal, he said, “It is my way of giving back.”
He didn’t serve in the military. “I was too young for World War II and too old for Korea,” he said.
It’s getting tougher to get color guard units and some other veteran groups to walk the parade route because the veterans no longer are as spry and fit as when they first pulled on a military uniform, Mr. Burrow said.
He said he firmly believes in giving back to the community and encourages support for those who did serve.
“People want to do something to remember our veterans and those who died in service to our country. The parade and memorial service are important ways to show veterans that we remember them. It makes you feel good,” Mr. Burrow said.
Contact Janet Romaker at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6006.