As the streets of Howell crowded with people, notes rang out from the instruments of Howell High School’s marching band who introduced the parade celebration of Memorial Day 2011.
Drum major Caitlin Green led the band through the streets of Howell as the musicians made their way down Grand River towards Thompson Lake Cemetery.
Future drum major, sophomore Sarah Kenney, commented, “The parade went great. Everyone played well and looked sharp. We received many thanks from the veterans, Congressman Rogers, and the mayor.”
Stopping along the way, two Brownie girl scouts and a member of the American Legion scattered rose petals at the war memorial sight in front of the courthouse. After, Marine Corps veterans followed with a gun salute, honoring those named on the memorial.
Ms. Madeline Lucas, one of the honored veterans, rode in a bright red car while wearing her Army uniform. Ms. Lucas studied at St. Mary’s school of nursing in Pierre, South Dakota, and became an Army nurse at the age of twenty-one. Serving from 1943 to 1946 she was stationed in the European Theater in both England and France. After the Army, Ms. Lucas decided to make nursing her career by working at Edward Hines, JR veterans’ hospital in Chicago. After all of those years serving her country, Ms. Lucas told how it was an honor to be in the Memorial Day parade.
As the parade reached the cemetery, the marching band played the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful along with Tyler Damaske who played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
Another key part of the Memorial Day celebration was when Congressman Mike Rogers gave a touching speech about veterans and the respect they deserve. As Congressman Rogers spoke, he told of various experiences he has had with those who served our country and their families. He told of a little girl he met at a Navy Seal’s funeral who informed Congressman Rogers how her father was cooler than any rock star she would ever meet, because of what he did for his country. This story, along with others, told of the sacrifice and the courage our armed forces possess. As Congressman Rogers said, “It’s an amazing thing, the courage of an American warrior.”
After the Memorial Day ceremony concluded, Congressman Rogers shared of how honored he always is to be with fellow veterans. Also, if there was one message he would give to students at Howell High School it is that, “There are lots of conflicts in history and we are still in harm’s way. It may seem far away, but it isn’t and we need to remember to honor those who served and fought for our country.”