A parade through Historic Downtown Rivers, a ceremony at the bridge over the Portage River honoring military personnel who died at sea, and a service in Riverside Cemetery were key facets of Memorial Day 2008 in Three Rivers as the community and others in River Country and elsewhere throughout the state and nation marked the holiday on Monday (May 26th).
The activities in Riverside Cemetery included presentation of a wreath “to the memory of our American heroes, who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and for all men and women who serve, and have served us, in this cause.”
While dedicating the wreath, Rebecca Shank, Regent of the Abiel Fellows Chapter/Daughters of the American Revolution, said, “For too many, Memorial Day has become no more than an extended weekend full of yard work, camping trips, or a trip to a super sale at their favorite department store, far from the original purpose of honoring our war dead.” Shank said, “We must dedicate ourselves – re-dedicate ourselves – to bringing the children into this tradition so that the significance of the cost of freedom is passed on to future generations.”
In his remarks, Mayor Allen Balog said, “I have one request. If you know a veteran, be it a relative, be it the gentleman across the street or down the road, we need to thank them.” He noted that large number of veterans dying each day and said, “It may be the last time that somebody can thank them for what they have done to preserve our freedom.”
Indeed, the service included “The Final Roll Call,” the reading of the names of more than 60 veterans who died since last year’s Memorial Day service.
The Riverside Cemetery program also included a bagpipe solo of “Amazing Grace,” a rifle salute, and the playing of Taps.
In closing remarks, Jim Salisbury, Chaplain of the American Legion Post in Three Rivers, thanked the Three Rivers police and fire departments and the Three Rivers High School Marching Band for their assistance and reiterated the mayor’s request by saying, “God bless each one of you and remember to thank a vet. Next time you see a vet, give ‘em a hug.” And he jokingly added, “You can start up here if you want.”