By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Taps was played, wreaths were laid and names were recalled as those who sacrificed their lives for their country were remembered May 22 during the city’s annual Memorial Day remembrance.
Acting Chaplain and Commander Tracy Kirkendall of American Legion Post 67 said Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
“They gave their lives in the line of duty so we can live free in the best nation in the world,” he said. “God bless their souls. I also want to let everyone here know that we shall never forget the POWs and MIAs still missing and unaccounted for.”
The national anthem was sung by vocalist Jan Adkinson. Later, the Lincoln Park High School Band played.
Jim Austin of the Southgate American Legion Riders explained the symbolism of the items placed at an empty table set for one in honor of those lost in the service to their country.
Timothy and Linda Frank, parade grand marshals and parents of the late Army Spc. Craig Frank, who died July 17, 2004, during Operation Iraqi Freedom at the age of 24, were recognized.
Mayor Thomas Karnes said the city is working to have a portion of Fort Street named the Sgt. Craig Frank Memorial Highway. He said it has been passed by the Michigan House and is now awaiting consideration by the Senate.
He said local veteran leader Aaron Bartal has offered to cover the cost of the sign.
Karnes also is a member of the Exchange Club, which supplied and placed the numerous American flags throughout the city’s Memorial Park.
“It’s a labor of love for them,” he said. “There are 150 flags here, and they are up until the day after Memorial Day.”
Karnes called attention to the 129 names on the veteran memorial behind him.
“Each of these young men left home not to return,” he said. “They had girlfriends, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends and dreams, and they gave everything for our benefit, so that we could remain free.”
Karnes encouraged residents in the next week to go to Memorial Park and read the names on the plaques.
“I suggest that you read the names out loud, so their names are out there, so that people can hear it, so they are not forgotten,” he said. “That is the main thing that we are talking about today.”
State Rep. Cara Clemente (D-14th District), said she was touched that the city remembers its veterans in such a special way.
Memorial wreaths were placed by George Blue of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, David Austin of the American Legion, Carl Hahn of the Disabled American Veterans, and a representative of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
The anthems of each branch of the armed forces were played, with veterans asked to stand during their song, and a three-gun salute was fired.
Civic volunteer Virginia Mondon read John McCrae’s war poem “In Flanders Fields.”