NEGAUNEE — Despite sometimes pouring rain, one community in the U.P. gathered to pay respects to the fallen in a time–honored tradition.
Negaunee’s VFW Post 3165 coordinated an annual observance of Memorial Day, starting with a parade through downtown. The parade has been part of the city’s Memorial Day activities since shortly after World War I. Community members gathered after the parade for a service at the Negaunee Cemetery, which is another tradition that keeps going year after year come rain or shine.
“One of the times I remember that they said they weren’t going to have the service at the cemetery because it was raining, and a few of the World War II Veterans stated, ‘we hit the beach on a bad day in Normandy. It was raining too, and we never canceled that either,'” said VFW Post 3165 Trustee Thomas Stanaway.
“I spent the winter in what they call the Battle of the Bulge now. That was in the Ardennes, and we lived outside,” Dick Wills, a World War II Veteran said. “I never slept under a roof for eight months. I’ve been wet before.”
Residents visiting the ceremony got a chance to see Veterans recognize the sacrifices of those who have served.
“It says something, I think in [a] small community especially, about how we appreciate one another and how we do serve one another and those that have given their lives, not only into death, but into sacrifice, in order to bring that peace and dignity for all,” said Marcia Solberg, Pastor at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Negaunee and speaker at the ceremony.
“I had buddies — I’ve got them buried in this country and buried in Europe also, and so it means a lot, and it’s a remembrance that will never go away no matter what. Your memory never fades when it comes to something like that,” Wills added.
Stanaway added that community members can help to honor the memory of Veterans by flying a flag at their home.