CADILLAC — Every year, Cadillac’s Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Service gets bigger and better.
“In the last 25 years, we have doubled the parade,‘ said organizer Steve Birdwell, the Commander of the Cadillac Area Honor Guard.
“The ceremony at Veterans Memorial Stadium, I can remember when the band and the honor guard outnumbered everyone. I bet now we have up to 1,000 people in the stands.‘
Enthusiasm for the parade also continues with up to 40 to 45 participants this year, the most ever.
On Memorial Day Monday, May 27, this year’s observances will follow include the Cadillac Area Honor Guard performing a salute to sailors at 9:30 a.m. at the City Dock. The wreath-laying ceremony is a tribute to US Navy and Coast Guard veterans who have lost their lives.
The parade down Main Street starts at 10 a.m. and will highlight the Annual Veterans Walk. All veterans who have served or are serving are welcome. In addition, a veteran’s family can join the walk and hold a large picture of a deceased veteran or one unable to make the walk.
The memorial service at the end of the parade at Veterans Memorial Stadium will begin at 11 a.m.
Remembering two anniversaries of sacrifice
Two of Cadillac’s Vietnam veterans will reflect on their 50th anniversary of being critically wounded in combat at the Memorial Service.
“This will provide a side of all the sacrifice of being wounded in combat,‘ said organizer Jerry Benson. “Bob Eggle has agreed to speak this year. Joe Thompson ... cannot speak publicly anymore but Bob will include him. He may be able to be on the field.‘
Retired Army Captain Bob Eggle, a platoon leader of Big Red One, the 1st Infantry Division, was shot in the side of the face during a maneuver on May 19, 1969.
Eggle spent 19 months at Walter Reed Hospital, undergoing nine surgeries to rebuild his face. He lost his right eye and hearing in his right ear.
Marine Second Lt. Joseph Thompson was ambushed and shot in the head during an ambush on Feb. 11, 1969. He lost the use of most of his right side. Thompson was harnessed and lifted into the air in a sling under heavy enemy fire.
To local veterans, both men are war heroes as are all of the veterans who served in our armed forces and who will be honored during the ceremony.
The parade line up is at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 27 in the parking lot by the splash pad. Contact Steve Birdwell: firstname.lastname@example.org