By Craig Stough
Memorial Day, 2016 The end of May brings a national holiday, long celebrated in Sylvania, to honor our veterans who have bravely served and protected America. For well over 60 years, Sylvania has had a Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies on the last Monday of May.
Many Americans have served their country in the armed forces. Many have died in battle, and many more are now growing old and nearing the end of their lives. Some have served more recently in Vietnam, the Middle East or elsewhere around the world. All these patriots and those serving today deserve our thanks and acclaim.
The parade and services are sponsored by our local veterans organizations and assisted by the city of Sylvania and Sylvania Recreation. Over the years, many of us have participated in the parade in one way or another. The Northview and Southview high school bands are always a part of the parade and ceremonies, and I remember how excited and honored I was to first march with the Sylvania High School band on Memorial Day, 1968.
The day begins at 9 a.m. with a memorial ceremony at Toledo Memorial Park near the 85-foot high Veterans Memorial Monument. Over 12,000 veterans are laid to rest in the cemetery and the American flag posted on each veteran’s grave creates a sea of flags.
The Memorial Day Parade assembles at St. Joseph Church and heads north on Main Street at 10:15 a.m., through the downtown, and continues on to Veterans Memorial Field. At 11 a.m., the Memorial Day Service follows at the north end of Veterans Memorial Field.
There are five bronze monuments at Veterans Memorial Field honoring those who served in five wars, and lists the names of all Sylvanians who died in those wars. There is also a tank and a Howitzer cannon on display. In addition, a bronze statue cast in 1982 honoring those veterans, stands in front of Sylvania City Hall on Monroe Street, where it is visible to thousands of people every day.
The World War II Roll of Honor previously on display in the Burnham Building was relocated to City Hall in 2010 and is on display in the first floor lobby. The Roll of Honor was restored and rededicated five years ago during a ceremony attended by many of Sylvania’s veterans who attended Burnham High School.
Memorial Day is a patriotic day for all of us. If not veterans ourselves, nearly all of us have a friend or relative who served in the armed forces or is serving today, putting their lives at risk to protect freedom. Further, many of us have a relative or know of a community member who was injured or killed in defense of America. Memorial Day is the day to honor these heroes and to celebrate our freedom.
I invite all of you to join us in Sylvania on Memorial Day. Sylvania is a wonderful place for families to gather, honor our veterans and celebrate America on Memorial Day.