Poland 2015 Memorial Day observances include graves decoration, speeches, parade

POLAND – Members of American Legion Mahoning Valley Post 15, American Legion Auxiliary Mahoning Valley Unit 15, and Sons of The American Legion Mahoning Valley Squadron 15 will place American flags on the graves of deceased U.S. military veterans buried in Historic Poland Riverside Cemetery as part of their annual observance of Memorial Day. 

Graveside decoration will occur beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 23 at the cemetery. Members of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops will assist. 

Family members of deceased veterans are asked to have their graveside flag holder in place prior to decoration. Anyone wishing to assist should report to the first drive behind the chapel at the cemetery no later than 8:55 a.m. Attendees are asked to park in the area of the first driveway behind the chapel and not block any driveways, as there are many families expected to be decorating graves. Decoration will occur rain or shine. 

“It is a great thing to have the Scouts assist in the graves decoration,” said Squadron 15 Commander and Past Detachment of Ohio Commander Jeff Vrabel, Sr. “They do a great job. It makes it easier for the veterans who participate because the Scouts get done so quickly. The veterans usually place flags at the start, but do more follow-up to make sure no one was missed.”

Should a veteran’s grave be missed during decoration, visitors are encouraged to stop by the cemetery office to obtain an American flag.  

For more information, call 330-565-5333 or email jeffvrabel@sbcglobal.net.

The 43rd annual Memorial Day Parade & Memorial Ceremonies set for Monday, May 25

The 43rd annual Memorial Day Parade & Memorial Ceremonies will occur at 9 a.m., on Monday, May 25 at Historic Poland Riverside Cemetery. The event is sponsored by Sons of The American Legion Mahoning Valley Squadron 15, American Legion Mahoning Valley Post 15 and the American Legion Auxiliary Mahoning Valley Unit 15. 

A schedule of events includes:

9 a.m. – An opening ceremony honoring The Four Chaplains – Lt. George L. Fox, Lt. Alexander D. Goode, Lt. John P. Washington, and Lt. Clark V. Poling gave their lifejackets to four others when their ship, the USS Dorchester, sank after being torpedoed by a German submarine. According to accounts, the chaplains were last seen linked arm in arm, when their ship sank into icy, black waters. 

10 a.m. – Memorial Day Parade – The parade will travel down College Street, right on South Main Street, left on Riverside Drive and into Riverside Cemetery. A brief ceremony also will be held on the Main Street Bridge in honor of those lost at sea, with full Memorial services at the cemetery. Timothy Espich, COO of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, will be special guest speaker. State Sen. Joe Schiavoni will serve as the speaker of the day. Russ Beatty Sr. will be parade grand marshal. The Rev. Ron Royalty of Poland Gospel Baptist Church is chaplain of the day. 

As in previous years, event organizers are prohibiting commercial and/or political units from participating in the parade. The throwing of candy during the parade and the distribution of any items along the route are also prohibited. Those doing so will be denied participation or asked to leave the event. This policy will be strictly enforced. 

Bikes, convertibles, and motorcycles needed for Memorial Day Parade 

For this year’s Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremonies, Sons of The American Legion Mahoning Valley Squadron 15 is again asking all children to decorate their bikes in red, white, and blue and to ride them in the parade. Parade marshals will be available to show the bicyclists where to go. Kids planning to participate need to be at Baird Mitchell Field with their bikes no later than 9:45 a.m. 

The Memorial Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 25 at American Legion Mahoning Valley Post 15 and Baird Mitchell Field. 

Squadron 15 is also asking that anyone owning a convertible or an antique car who is interested in participating in the parade call 330-565-5333. Vehicles may be used to drive veterans and other dignitaries along the 1-mile parade route. Vehicle owners planning to participate should arrive at Post 15 no later than 9 a.m. 

Finally, Squadron 15 is asking that anyone owning a motorcycle to participate as well. 

For more information, call 330-565-5333 or email jeffvrabel@sbcglobal.net.

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