COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Members of the Three Rivers American Legion Honor Guard carry the American Flag and the American Legion flag down East Michigan Avenue during Monday’s Memorial Day parade through downtown. The parade made its way down Main Street and Michigan Avenue, stopping briefly to pay respects to those who have died in combat at the Portage River bridge.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Norm Stutesman (left) and Kent Drake (right) from the Three Rivers American Legion read out the names of 44 local veterans who passed away in the last year during a Memorial Day ceremony at Riverside Cemetery following the street parade Monday.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - The Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band plays the National Anthem during Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony at Riverside Cemetery.

Fallen, but not forgotten: Three Rivers honors those who gave all on Memorial Day

THREE RIVERS — The Three Rivers community gathered downtown and at Riverside Cemetery for an annual Memorial Day tradition Monday.

Beginning at 10 a.m., the city held its annual Memorial Day parade, honoring those who lost their lives serving in the United States military. Hundreds of people lined the parade route, with many also making their way to the cemetery for an annual remembrance ceremony.

The parade featured vehicles, floats and representatives from the Three Rivers American Legion, the Three Rivers Eagles, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Three Rivers Fire Department and Three Rivers Police Department, and the Three Rivers High School Marching Band. It began at the corner of Main Street and Kelsey Street and went south down Main Street to Michigan Avenue, where the parade turned east down the street.

As is tradition, the parade made a brief stop on the bridge over the Portage River on East Michigan Avenue to pay respects to those military members who were killed at sea. The American Legion Honor Guard performed a three-round volley salute, and Taps was played by Three Rivers High School Marching Band bugler Sophia Lyczynski. Following the salute, members of the American Legion led the group gathered at the bridge in prayer.

“Thank you God, for bringing us together at this Memorial Day celebration to acknowledge the debt we owe to the men and women of the United States military who have guarded our country with their life. We especially honor those who lost their lives while defending our nation,” the prayer read. “They were willing to risk death and protect this land we hold so dear and the American people along with it. We thank them for their sacrifice and promise to carry on their legend to make sure they’re not dying in vain.”

The parade then made its way down East Michigan Avenue to Riverside Cemetery, where hundreds of people stopped for a brief ceremony recognizing local veterans who passed away within the last year, as well as local military members who died in combat.

Three Rivers Mayor Tom Lowry welcomed everyone to the ceremony, calling Memorial Day a “somber” day of remembrance, and recounted a memory from his childhood and put the day in perspective.

“Today is a very somber day, a very serious day for all of us. When I was a child, my father served in World War II, but in our streets and in our neighborhood, there were mothers who still grieved over the loss of their son or daughter from World War II. As I grew up, I got to know other neighbors who were aunts and uncles to men and women who never came home from Korea or Vietnam,” Lowry said.

“This day has always been somber, but it became most serious to me years ago when I realized not only did I know people who had sons, daughters, husbands or wives who never came home, but that we’re a couple hundred years old as a nation. There are many men and women who I’ve never met and I never will who served and gave that ultimate sacrifice, which is their life, for our country so we can be here today in a free country and celebrate and be good neighbors and be good people. It’s those people we’ve never met, to me, that are the most serious reason we’re here today.”

Following Lowry’s opening remarks, those gathered were led in a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, with the marching band playing the National Anthem as well. The ceremony ended with a reading of the names of those veterans who passed away in the last year, with a second three-round volley and the playing of Taps by Lyczynski and second bugler Adam Meudt.

“May they never be forgotten, and may they rest in peace,” Three Rivers American Legion Senior Vice Commander Norm Stutesman said.

Following is the list of local veterans who passed away between Memorial Day 2020 and 2021, as was read at the ceremony, courtesy of the American Legion:

  • Richard Abrams, 67, Army
  • Hascall Baker, 83, Navy
  • James D. Brady, 67, Army
  • Michael R. Bump, 76, Army
  • Don J. Caletri, 86, Army
  • M. Loren Carlisle, 74, Army
  • Stanley E. Coats, 78, Air Force
  • Lewis (Skip) Custer, 75, Army
  • Otto Decker, 88, Army
  • Gard Dolph, 88, Army
  • Fredric J. Eby, 83, Army
  • Charles H. Fosdick III, 78, Army
  • John Gearhart, 89, Army
  • William A. Grindel, 61, Navy
  • Carroll Haas, 100, Army
  • Robert G. Hagerman, 95, Army
  • Russell Hagenbuch, 76, Navy
  • Ronald Hambright, 86, Army
  • Clint Harrison, 55, Army
  • David R. Hibbs, 73, Army
  • Constance Hill, 69, Marines
  • Richard Jacobs, 95, Navy
  • Christopher Leader, 43, Army
  • John M. McClain, 75, Air Force
  • Jack D. Melchi, 81, Navy
  • John Miller, 87, Air Force
  • Charles Peasley, 68, Army
  • Patrick Priest, 76, Navy
  • Arnold Sadler, 96, Navy
  • Thomas Salibury, 77, Army
  • Roger A. Shingledecker, 49, Army
  • Bill Shively, 73, Army
  • Carl “Bud” Slocum, 84, Air Force
  • Frederick Snell, 94, Merchant Marine
  • Herbert D. Spencer Jr., 74, Army
  • David Swartz, 73, Army
  • Trevor Thor, 79, Army
  • David Thompson, 79, Navy
  • William J. Ward, 91, Air Force
  • Charles Westphal, Navy
  • Charles Whitney, 83, Air Force, Army and Navy
  • Norann Winn, 66, Army
  • James Wragg, 84, Army
  • Daniel Zubryd, 82, Army

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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