Clare, Harrison, Farwell veterans to commemorate Memorial Day

May 23, 2019

By Pat Maurer

Monday is Memorial Day.

Across the Nation, states, counties and communities celebrate the day to honor all those who died fighting for our country in past wars.
All three Clare County communities will hold special ceremonies to honor veterans who have given their lives in service.

Harrison’s Memorial Day Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 27th at the Veterans Freedom Park at 200 West Main Street across from the County Building.

The ceremony will include the “Laying of the Wreaths’ by VFW Post 1075; American Legion Post 404; American Legion Post 404 SAL; American Legion Post 404 Ladies Auxiliary; 40 et 8; and VVA Post 1075.

Next will be the “Reading of the Names” and ringing of the bell in honor of those killed in action from Clare County.

Guest speakers will include Pam Heath from the Veterans Freedom Park Committee, and Jim Fernandez, State of Michigan VFW POW/MIA Director.
Folding of the American Flag will be by American Legion Post 404 SAL and Harrison Mayor Stacey Stocking, who will also conduct the closing.

Immediately following the ceremony Memorial Day Honors will be conducted at the Maple Grove Cemetery for a Fire and Volley and the playing of taps will take place. A free luncheon will be held at the American Legion Post in Harrison after the ceremonies for all who attend.

Clare’s VFW Memorial Day parade and observance will be held Monday, May 27th beginning at 10:10 a.m. in the Clare City Park.

The program will include selections played by the Clare High School Band (conducted by Jason Lowe) followed by Master of Ceremonies John Waddington. Pastor Jim Young will conduct the prayer.

A Presentation of Wreaths will be by the Clare VFW Post 5738, Police and Fire Department and the Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post 5738.

The annual parade, led by Parade Marshall Jeremy Fassett, will begin at 10:30 after the ceremonies and the route is down Fifth Street to McEwan, then to State Street and Cedar Street to the Cherry Grove Cemetery.

The Cherry Grove Cemetery Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. In case of inclement weather the ceremony will be held in the Clare High School Gymnasium beginning at 11 a.m. The ceremony will begin with drum rolls and the National Anthem by the Clare High School Band followed by a welcome and introduction by John Waddington. Pastor Jim Young will conduct the invocation.

Featured speaker will be Captain Lori Fassett of the Michigan National Guard. Presentation of Wreaths will be by Clare VFW Post 5738, the Ladies Auxiliary, and the Blue Star Mothers – DAV.

The Clare High School Band will perform a Present Arms selection and the benediction will be conducted by Pastor Jim Young. Concluding the ceremony, the Firing of the Volley will be by the VFW Honor Guard and Taps with Echo will be played by the CHS Band.

Following the ceremony at Cherry Grove, The VFW Post 5738 will have hot dogs and snacks at the post. Everyone is welcome to attend and anyone who would like to march in the parade is welcome to participate. The VFW will post a field of flags at the VFW post for Memorial Day.

In Farwell the Memorial Day Parade on Monday will begin at 10 a.m. on Main Street on May 27th. Following the parade, Memorial Day Ceremonies will take place at the Farwell Village Park. The Memorial is sponsored by the Farwell VFW Post 3039 and the Clare and Farwell American Legion Post 558.

The ceremony will begin with the Pledge of Allegiance led by attending children.

Moderators will be American Legion Post Commander Brent Coates and Farwell VFW Post Commander William Geyer.

Former American Legion Commander Bob Mulrenin will demonstrate the folding of the Flag and explain the POW/MIA Table, which will be on display.

Village President Gina Hamilton will be the featured speaker for the Memorial Day Ceremony.

The Farwell High School Band, led by Director Paul Shimmons will march in the parade and perform three selections during the ceremony.

Following the ceremony at the Village Park, The American Legion Post 558 will be celebrating 100 years of American Legion Service and 30 years for Post 558 on Monday, May 27th from noon to 9 p.m. The event is open to the public and will feature live music by Bridge Band and Southbound Revival; pulled pork sliders and sides. The post is located at 400 E. Ludington Drive (Old US-10), Farwell.

Memorial Day ceremonies has a long history. Information on Wikipedia said although the custom of decorating the graves of those killed in battle began earlier, the first Civil War veteran’s grave was decorated in Virginia in 1861, according to a newspaper article published in 1906.

By April 1865, following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, commemorations became widespread. The more than 600,000 soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape.

Northern states soon adopted the tradition.

After the Civil War, in 1865, General John A. Logan, who fought in the Civil War and the Mexican-American War, issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually nationwide. Logan was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Civil War veterans.

The first Northern Decoration Day was observed on May 30, 1868. One author claims that the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.[34] According to a White House address in 2010, the date was chosen as the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom in the North.

In 1871, Michigan made “Decoration Day” an official state holiday and by 1890, every northern state had followed suit.

“Decoration Day” was first called Memorial Day in 1882, and was named a federal holiday in 1967.

However, Memorial Day did not become the more common name until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May.

The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. 

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