Memorial Day is a time to honor those who gave their lives in military service to our country, but it wasn't always that way. The tradition began after the Civil War, for honoring soldiers of both sides who had died. After World War I, the tradition was changed to honor all those Americans who died fighting in any war. It was officially made a holiday in 1971, giving us the three day weekend that has come to be associated with the beginning of summer, store sales, and barbecues. In recent years, communities have returned to the roots of this holiday, and it has regained some of the solemn feel of its origins. Oz has several parades and ceremonies to attend -- here are the details:
Fredonia The Warren Kane American Legion Post 410 will hold a ceremony at Veterans Park at 9 a.m., with a flag raising and the playing of taps by area students. This year's guest speaker will be Russ Saueressig, a member of Post 410, and the program will also include a performance by Matthew Baughman, NOSD bands, and other youth organizations.
Belgium Memorial Day will begin with Mass at 8 a.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church at 200 Park St. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on Main St. at East Lane, followed by a program at Community Park at 11 a.m., located at 106 Beech St. A cookout will be held afterwards by the American Legion Melvin Wester Post 412, with free beer, soda and water.
Saukville The Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 will have a prayer service at the Union Cemetery on South Main St. in Saukville at 8 a.m., and the parade begins at 9 a.m. from nearby Riverside Park and ends at Veterans Park on East Green Bay Ave. for a ceremony. Lunch will be served following the ceremony at the Legion Post at 601 S. Dekora St.
Port Washington The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. near City Hall, and continues to Veterans Park on the lakefront for a program, where the Port Washington High School Band will play patriotic songs. The Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 will provide soft drinks and ice-cream to children following the program.
Grafton The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the Grafton American Legion Rose Harms Post 335 and continue to Veteran's Memorial Park for a ceremony. A free luncheon will be served at the Legion Hall following the ceremony.
Cedarburg The parade begins at 9 a.m. at the corner of Bridge St. and Washington Ave, followed by a ceremony and reception at the Peter Wollner Post 288 at 10 a.m., located at W57 N481 Hilbert Ave.
Mequon/Thiensville The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, and continues to Mequon City Hall for a ceremony. An observance and free will lunch will follow at the Howard J. Schroeder American Legion Post 457's Clubhouse located at 6050 W. Mequon Road.
Happy Memorial Day, everyone.