Marchers carry a large American flag down Jackson Street during the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Toledo last year.
As a jump-start to the Memorial Day weekend, Toledo's annual Memorial Day parade will step off at 10 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Summit and Monroe streets downtown.
The parade, which proceeds north on Summit then west on Jackson Street, ends at the Civic Center Mall, where a service honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice will be held. Nearby streets will close at 8 a.m.
"The parade is the joyful part, but the most important part of the day is the memorial service remembering those who didn't come back and can't enjoy the day," said Robert Schmitt, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Memorial Day Association.
The service, which is expected to begin just before noon, begins with a flyover of F-16 fighter jets from the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing.
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Thomas Moe, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, will be the grand marshal at the parade and the keynote speaker at the service, which also will include comments from local elected officials, laying of wreaths at the war memorials, firing of rifles, and an appearance by the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps.
Mr. Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, flew 85 combat missions, including 60 over North Vietnam. In 1968, his F-4 Phantom was forced down by a weapon malfunction over enemy territory, and he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
Upon his return, Mr. Moe received a master's degree from the University of Notre Dame and returned to flying fighter jets, retiring from the Air Force in 1995 after 30 years of active duty.
Mr. Schmitt said the Memorial Day Association is looking for more people to get involved with the organization -- both veterans and non-veterans -- as well as contributions to support the day's events.
"Our whole function is to make sure every [veteran's] grave site is decorated in Lucas County with a flag and to organize and conduct the parade and the memorial service," he said.
Interested persons may contact Mr. Schmitt at 419-283-2064.
Surrounding communities are hosting a number of events Monday to honor those who have died in service to the nation:
Berkey -- Service at 9 a.m. at Berkey Cemetery.
Bowling Green -- Parade at 10 a.m. from the post office to Oak Grove Cemetery, where a memorial service will be held. Wreaths also will be laid at the war memorials at the Wood County courthouse during the parade.
Findlay -- Parade at 10 a.m. beginning at West Front Street downtown and ending at Maple Grove Cemetery.
Fremont -- Parade at 10 a.m. starting at the corner of State and Front streets and ending at Rodger Young Park.
Genoa -- Service at 9 a.m. at Clay Township Cemetery.
Jerry City -- Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. in the Jerry City Cemetery.
Marblehead -- Parade at 10:30 a.m. beginning at Clemons Cemetery and proceeding to the war memorial in James Park where a ceremony will be held.
Maumee -- Parade at 9:30 a.m. starting at Maumee United Methodist Church.
Napoleon -- Toledo Area Bicyclists in conjunction with the Wounded Warriors Project and Team Warriors 4Ever are sponsoring a 100-K bicycle ride beginning at 8 a.m. at Side Cut Metro Park and continuing to Napoleon, where a parade begins at 10.
Perrysburg -- Parade at 10 a.m. beginning at Louisiana Avenue and 5th Street with a stop at Riverside Park, where rifles will be fired, and ending at Fort Meigs Cemetery, where a memorial service will be held.
Richfield Township -- Service at 9:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth's Cemetery. Service at 10:30 at Wolfinger Cemetery in Secor Park.
Spencer Township -- Service at 10 a.m. at Marygrove-Immaculate Conception Cemetery.
Swanton -- Parade at 10:30 a.m. leading to Doughboy Memorial Park for a ceremony and finishing at the Swanton American Legion for a luncheon for the community. Maj. Michael Semmens of the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command will speak at the post after the luncheon.
Sylvania -- Memorial ceremony at 9 a.m. at Toledo Memorial Park near the Veterans Memorial Monument. Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church and head north on Main Street through downtown to the Veterans Memorial Field, where a memorial service will be held at 11.
Whitehouse -- Service at 10 a.m. at Whitehouse Cemetery.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.