“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. ” John F. Kennedy
Memorial Day is celebrated as the official start of the summer season for many communities and families. It is also a day to remember those lives sacrificed for our liberty. Having a day off not only provides a wonderful opportunity for family and friend get-togethers, but also many parades and ceremonies. Enjoy these events as opportunities to celebrate our past veterans and current troops as well. All events take place Monday, May 30, 2011.
It is a nice tribute to wave small American flags at the parades and to teach your children to stand as the flag passes. You also may want to bring small bags as many of the parade floats will throw candy. Remember that traffic is blocked during a parade; plan your parking near the beginning of the route or consider parking further away. You may also want comfy footwear, a camera, sunscreen, snacks and water. Lawn chairs or blankets provide a comfortable view. Arriving early will ensure a good spot, especially if you are part of a large group. While most parades and ceremonies are held in the morning hours, the Grand Rapids parade is traditionally in the evening. You may also want to bring insect repellent.
Grand Rapids – The annual parade will be held on Monday, May 30 this year at 7:30 p.m. The route will remain the same with the parade traveling south on Division to Fulton and east to Veterans Park, where a ceremony will be held. John Ball Zoo is open from 9 to 6pm on Memorial Day as well and is located about two miles from the parade route.
Grand Haven – The annual community parade begins at 9:30 a.m. on Franklin Street & Washington and proceeds to Waterfront Stadium. Grand Haven has a beach area and while it may not be warm enough to swim, it has a wonderful walking route along the channel out to the lighthouse and a beautiful view of Lake Michigan.
Grandville – Veterans and residents are invited to attend the Memorial Day ceremonies at Wedgewood Park beginning at 9 a.m. At 9:30, a parade will follow and head down Wilson and Prairie to the Grandville Public Cemetery. Wedgewood Park has picnic tables and a beautiful stream running through it with many ducks. It is a wonderful spot to take pictures and it also has a nice bike trail.
Holland – The parade will travel from 8th Street and River Avenue to Columbia Avenue, then south to 16th Street and east to the Pilgrim Home Cemetery. Pre-parade music by the American Legion Band. Starts at 9:30 a.m.
Jenison – The Jenison Memorial Day Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. and travels from Baldwin St. and 20th Ave to Cottonwood Dr. A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. at Georgetown Township Cemetery on 28th. Avenue. Hagar Park is also located on 28th. Ave and includes picnic areas and a huge wooden ship playground for children of all ages. There are also hiking trails through the beautiful woods, and several rooms to rent for large family reunions, graduation parties, or other events.
Zeeland – The annual tribute to remember veterans parades through Downtown Zeeland at 9 a.m. A patriotic ceremony will follow at Zeeland Cemetery.
For other area parades, including Lowell, Caledonia, and Muskegon, see source below.
Other work by this author:
Are Your Children Ready to Visit a War Memorial?
Memorial Day Poem