Memorial Day events

Published 9:19 am Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day will soon be upon us, which means an abundance of fun, festivals and parades.

However, Memorial Day is also a time to honor the country’s fallen soldiers. Because of this, many cities will also be providing a Memorial Day ceremony to remember those who have died in the line of duty.

With so many activities taking place all across the country, it can be hard to keep track of when and where each Memorial Day activity is happening. To help here is a round-up of all the Memorial Day activities taking place in the local area.


Memorial day for Niles will be a two-day event, sponsored by the American Legion Post 26.

Festivities will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 28, with Memorial Day service located at Riverfront Park on Main Street. Past Commander Kenneth Wolf will speak at the event.

After this service, there will be another service at the bridge on Main Street to honor soldiers lost at sea.

The Memorial Day parade will take place the next day at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29. The Parade will begin on North Street, where the old YMCA was.

Following the parade, there will be a service at Silverbrook Cemetery with a wreath being placed in the Veterans Circle. Pastor Andrew Lile from the First Church of God will be giving an opening and closing prayer.

Niles High School Band will play at the ceremony and a wreath will placed in the veterans circle.

John Sly, of American Legion Post 26, believes that everyone who can should attend the event.

“It’s a chance to show respect to the military members who have passed away,” Sly said.


Dowagiac’s annual Memorial Day Parade will take place Monday, May 29.

The parade will be begin at City Hall after a ceremony at 10:30 a.m. where Mayor Don Lyons and guest Jeff Becker will speak.

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Becker served as sentinel of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. from 1983 to 1985. He will be speaking about his experiences there and the relevance to Memorial Day.

Parade organizer Jim Benedix said the City of Dowagiac is proud to have Becker as a speaker.

“Every year, we try to find a speaker with a unique background [who] is relevant to Memorial Day,” Benedix said. “We thought the sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier would be a good place to look.”

After this, the parade will kick off at 11 a.m., and finish at Riverside Cemetery.

Following the parade, a memorial service will be hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Dowagiac Senior High School Choir will perform at the ceremony.

Benedix would like to encourage anyone who is interested to participate in the parade and ceremonies.

“We want to recognize the sacrifice our veterans have made for us,” Benedix said.


Buchanan’s Memorial Day activities will take place May 29.

The Buchanan Memorial Day parade will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, at McCoy Duck Pond on Front Street. Ten to 15 floats will appear in the parade, including a float with Miss Buchanan, a float for the Buchanan High school band, and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Immediately following the parade there will be a ceremony at the Oak Ridge Cemetery honoring the area’s fallen veterans. After the ceremony the American Legion will be offering hot dogs and refreshments to those who participated in the parade and ceremony.

There will also be activities available downtown.

Commander of the American Legion Marvin Pruett has organized the Memorial Day parade for the last 35 years. He believes anyone who attends the event will find it valuable.

“We have a good crowd every year,” Pruett said. “You’re honoring your veterans by coming.”


The Cassopolis Veterans of Foreign Wars will host the area’s annual Memorial Day parade May 29.

The parade will kick off behind the VFW in front of the post office at 10 a.m. The Cassopolis High School band and robotics team will participate in the parade. The VFW has also invited children to decorate their bikes to participate in the parade.

Immediately following the parade, there will be a ceremony at Prospect Hill Cemetery. After the ceremony, any and all veterans and their families are invited to come back to the VFW for a provided lunch.

Organizer Chris Bergen said the parade will provide both fun and remembrance.

“As a veteran myself, we want to mark the day as a memorial and to honor those who have been killed in the line of duty,” Bergen said. “But we also mark the beginning of summer, so we absolutely want people to come out and enjoy the weekend.”


The annual Edwardsburg Memorial Day festival will take place Monday, May 29.

The festival, presented by the Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, will kick off with a parade beginning at 11 a.m. running down U.S. 12. The parade will make a stop in front of the Edwardsburg History Museum for a flag ceremony, where there will be a speaker. After this brief stop, the parade will continue to cemetery to place memorial flags.

The parade and ceremonies were organized not by the Chamber of Commerce, but rather the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Fire Department, said Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Administrator Ray Smothermon.

The festival will take place in Gunn Park, located at Lake and Main Streets beside Pleasant Lake, immediately after the parade. The festival will be open to the public until 2 p.m.

The festival will have many booths provided by local businesses and individuals, such as crafting and clothing booths, as well as food. There will also be a bake sale sponsored by Relay for Life at the event.

Activities such a bounce house, cake walk, dunk tank and baseball throw competitions will be available for attendees to take part in.

Smothermon encourages Edwardsburg residents of all ages to attend and participate in the festivities.

“The festival gives everyone the chance to come with their kids and have fun,” Smothermon said. “It’s mainly for the community to have everyone come together on Memorial Day and have fun and fellowship.”

During the festivities, Hamilton and Lake streets will be blocked off, but will be open to pedestrian traffic.