Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
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Our Town Going Out

Memorial Day parade in Sylvania slated to remember all who served


Ken Katafias, operations manager of Sylvania Recreation Corporation, center, listens as veterans this week discuss this year's Memorial Day in Sylvania.

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Each year, thousands of Sylvania residents come out on Memorial Day to show their support, honor, and respect for those brave men and women who honorably served in the United States' military.

This year the parade will take place on May 27. Veterans from World War II participate in the solemn occasion, walking or riding along the parade route so that those who lost their lives in war do not become a distant memory. Veterans who served in recent wars still marked on the minds of many also participate in the parade.. 

“We have three veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan marching,” said Mike Pollick, a Sylvania resident who served in the Vietnam War. He and other veterans attended a meeting held at Tam-O-Shanter this week to discuss the events planned for the parade.

Mr. Pollick said that the younger heroes will eventually trickle in and join a local legion, but some are slow to join  because they are still adjusting to society.

“It’s a tough transition coming from combat, and trying to get their life together, with a wife, kids, and getting a job,” he said. He said that he and the other men at the meeting  joined the Joseph Diehn American Legion Post 468 and the VFW Post 3717 of Sylvania about 10 years after they returned from combat. The Sylvania organizations are coordinating the Memorial Day events along with city of Sylvania and the Sylvania Recreation Corp.

Mr. Pollick, 62, said that being recognized for his military service in the controversial Vietnam War was “a longtime coming.” Some who served in the war had insults tossed at them and suffered cruel acts such as being spit on as their “welcome back home” embraces in the 1960s.

Sylvania has been recognizing its veterans and those in the Toledo area in the parade for more than 30 years. This year Toledo resident Robert Darr, 81, will serve as the parade marshal.  

“It’s quite an honor, and it is important that people remember,” Mr. Darr said.

Mr. Darr, who served in the Korean War, is part of the planning committee headed by Ken Katafias, operations manager for  the Sylvania Recreation Corp.

Remembrance is a key part of the parade.

“All the kids in the band remember these things over the years, and both bands will play at the memorial service held in Toledo Memorial Park near the war monument,” Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough said.

He said that the children who participate in the day’s services, including members of the Southview and Northview marching bands, remember the experience of marching with the war heroes, including World War II veterans. Also the image of 12,000 flags placed on the veterans' graves at Toledo Memorial Park is unforgettable, Mr. Katafias said.

Known as the “Sea of Flags,” the ceremony will start the day’s events at 9 a.m.

A traditional part of the parade includes a flyby performed by military jets. Because of the federal sequester, that portion has been canceled, Mr. Katafias said. However, he is in discussions with the Cleveland Wing Commemorative Air Force about having historic planes fly overhead during the ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Field.

The Memorial Day parade and services begin at 9 a.m., with a brief service held at Toledo Memorial Park, 6382 Monroe St. The annual Memorial Day parade will start at 10:15 am. at St. Joseph’s School, 5411 Main St. The parade will proceed north on Main Street to Erie Street and finish at Veterans Memorial Field in Memorial Park. At 11 a.m. a Memorial Day service honoring America’s Veterans will take place.

For more information contact Sylvania Recreation at 419-882-1500.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at" 419-206-0356 or

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