Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Veterans, community groups and appreciative residents remembered the deceased men and women of the armed forces and honored their service at both a solemn ceremony at Cold Springs Cemetery and along East Avenue for a festive parade Sunday.
The events mark the annual observance of Memorial Day in the City of Lockport, with hundreds of residents attending the morning ceremony and afternoon parade. Communities across the country will do so this weekend.
The holiday honors the men and women who’ve either lost their life in service to the nation or died following their service, but there are many reasons for people’s participation in Saturday’s events.
Stan Moreland, the parade’s grand marshal, said that for veterans the day is one to get together and remember those who served with them.
“We remember their service,” said Moreland, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. That goes for all veterans, not just those whose life was claimed in battle. “It doesn’t matter where or when they served, whether they died in combat or years later. A veteran is a veteran.”
The parade allowed the residents who filled yards and greenways along East Avenue between Veterans Memorial Park and City Hall the opportunity to show their thanks to who’ve given all for their freedoms.
“It’s a short way to say thank you for making the sacrifice,” Alderman Patrick Schrader said. “It’s a holiday, but we need to look at it for what it’s for â€” the young men and women who went first.”
Others were there to support the families for whom Memorial Day commemorates a personal loss.
“We’ve gone to many different ceremonies, but we’re always glad there are people honoring these families,” Gold Star Mothers of South Buffalo President Cathy MacFarlane said. “When you lose a child, this can be a very difficult day ... we’re here to support all the families, the mothers, telling them we’re here and that we know what they’ve gone through.”
But among all, the message was clear â€” we understand their sacrifices and haven’t forgotten what their lives have done for ours.