Honor the fallen, other vets

Memorial Day is a yearly remembrance of veterans who gave their lives defending the freedom of American citizens. On this holiday, there are numerous ways the fallen can be remembered and honored.

In a release from Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette and modern manners expert, who is the founder of Access to Culture, she describes ways to acknowledge history and incorporate respect for the fallen.

The release encourages people to take time to thank a veteran, invite them to a gathering or take them to a meal early in the day.

Executive Director Mac McAuliffe of Seneca County Veterans Services Office said if anyone sees a veteran, they should thank them.

“It gives (veterans) a good feeling to be recognized,” he said.

McAuliffe said Memorial Day is a day for the people who have died. It is a day to remember them and the sacrifices they made so we can live the way we do, he said.

“The best way to honor them is to go to services before going to a barbecue,” McAuliffe said. “Then, at the barbecue, remember there are people that should be there, but aren’t.”

Assistant Director Tara Balliet of Seneca County Veterans Service Office said she would like to remind people, specifically veterans, that some people get confused about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. She said veterans serve to protect the freedom of civilians and people often don’t or won’t say thank you.

“It is a chance to empower through education, but don’t embarrass or belittle people,” Balliett said. “Nicely let people know the difference and explain the difference to them because civilians are the whole reason we went.”

She said people should get to a Memorial Day event, hold their loved ones close and put flowers out to show their appreciation.

The National Moment of Remembrance was created to observe a minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made to provide freedom, the release states.

Jody O’Millian, a member of Seneca County Veterans Service Commission and Tiffin United Veterans Council, said it is important people know Memorial Day is for remembering veterans who died in the line of duty.

“It is a difficult holiday,” he said. “People have lost sight of what it is and it is a time to remember fallen veterans.”

O’Millian said to him, it is more about visiting gravesites. He said veterans organizations place new flags at the graves of veterans, which is their way of remembering the fallen, in addition to the programs they put on.

“It’s a difficult thing for me because you say ‘Happy Memorial Day’, which is kind of an oxymoron because ‘happy’ and ‘memorial’ don’t really go together,” he said.

He said he attended barbecues when he was young, but now that he is older and a veteran, he understands what the day is supposed to be about.

“Like Christmas, I think people have forgotten what it is really about,” he said.

The release also suggests taking time at gatherings to say a few words regarding the meaning of the holiday and to remember those who gave their all.

Adjutant John Ricker of AMVETS Post 48 said Memorial Day is a time people are to remember veterans and is a chance for people and families to get together.

“It’s not a raucous type of a holiday. It is a little more solemn, but it’s not sad,” he said.

Ricker said the purpose is to honor the memory of veterans and the “memorial” in the day is about remembering and appreciating.

“Think of what the reason for the holiday is. It was not created just to have a day off or to have business sales,” he said.

“It’s the same as the religious holidays. Easter really isn’t about bunnies and Christmas isn’t about giving gifts,” Ricker said. “People should just keep in mind the purpose and reason the day was created.”

Following is a list of area Memorial Day services. All events are Monday unless otherwise noted.

• Tiffin — 10 a.m.. United Veterans Council of Seneca County is sponsoring a parade that is to go north on South Washington Street from St. Joseph’s Church, across Veterans’ Bridge to Frost Parkway and to Monument Square. A ceremony to honor veterans who lost their lives in conflict is to immediately follow the parade.

Following the ceremony, at 12:30 p.m., there is to be the dedication of a new flag pole and plaque at Hedges-Boyer Park near the swimming pool, in honor of LeRoy Coleman.

• Fostoria — 10 a.m. Memorial Day Celebration at Fountain Cemetery.

• Green Springs — Line up for the Memorial Day parade is to be at the American Legion at 2:30 p.m. today and the parade is to step off 3 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., there is to be a ceremony at Green Springs Cemetery.

• Republic — At 8:30 a.m., a short ceremony is to be led by the American Legion. The Memorial Day Parade steps off at 9 a.m. and ends at Farewell Retreat Cemetery. A service is to follow there.

• Sycamore — Lineup for the parade is 9 a.m. behind the American Legion, and the parade is to step off at 9:30 a.m. A graveside service is then planned at Pleasant View Cemetery conducted by American Legion Auxiliary, followed by a community picnic at the American Legion.

• Attica — The Memorial Day Parade is to be 10 a.m.-noon.

• New Riegel — A memorial service is planned for 9 a.m. mass at All Saints Parish with a service in the cemetery to follow. After the cemetery service, a parade is to proceed from the church to New Riegel American Legion Post No. 354, followed by a flag-raising.

• Bascom — A Lions Club dinner is set for 11:30 a.m. June 3 at Meadowbrook Park at the Evergreen Shelter. A military service is to be at 1 p.m. that day at Sand Ridge Cemetery and the Bascom Lions Club Memorial Day Parade is to be at 2 p.m.