Yes, it is easy to think of Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer – with picnics, parties and fun. Of course, the reason we can celebrate these things is because of the incredible honor, bravery and sacrifice given by members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
It is up to us, as parents, to teach this to our children. It is up to us to show the little ones what this day is all about; remembering those who died while serving. It is up to us to show our kids the true meaning of the day – and what our beautiful flag represents. Yes, of course they can have fun – and enjoy the parades, rides, and games – as long as they know what it is all for.
There are many events being held all weekend long to celebrate Memorial Day. Here are a few.
Memorial Day Ceremony
Forest Lawn, May 30
8:30 a.m.: Flags will be placed on the graves of veterans buried in the Field of Valor and in the American Legion section of Forest Lawn.
9 a.m.: The ceremony will begin in front of the American Legion Memorial Monument in the Veteran’s section, near the Main Street Gates.
This is a beautiful site to see. The sea of flags adorned on the grave sites is stunning and the ceremony is emotional and enlightening.
Marilla, 1 p.m. May 29
Parade line up begins at Cemetery on Two Rod Road ending at Veteran’s Memorial. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served after the memorial.
Lancaster, 9 a.m. May 30
Parade steps off at Lake Avenue Veteran’s Park and ends at Town Hall where there will be a service by the VFW Walden Avenue Post. Refreshments will be served.
Clarence, 11 a.m. May 30
The route begins at the high school and goes to Main Street Town Park.
Collins Center, 11 a.m. May 30
The parade starts at Main Street and Collins Center Zoar Road and goes to the cemetery where a ceremony given by the American Legion will take place.
Kenmore-Tonawanda, 11 a.m. May 30
One of the largest in the area, the parade runs down Delaware Avenue beginning in the Town of Tonawanda and into the Village of Kenmore turning at Lincoln Boulevard, ending at Elmwood Avenue. The parade features dance groups, bands, veterans, active members and fire departments.
Lewiston, 11 a.m. May 30
The parade will commence from North Fourth and Center streets to Academy Park, where the Memorial Day ceremony will begin at noon. Following the observance, the VFW and American Legion C.C. Kenney Lewiston Post 1083 will host a luncheon inside the Lewiston No. 1 Volunteer Fire Co. firehall banquet room on North Sixth Street.
Orchard Park, 9 a.m. May 30
The parade begins at the Orchard Park Library (4570 Buffalo Street) and ends at the Four Corners
West Seneca, 9 a.m. May 30
The ceremony will be held at St. Matthew’s Cemetery, Field of Valor (Clinton Street and French Road). The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. from the Southgate Plaza to Town Hall (1250 Union Road) where another ceremony will take place.
Williamsville/Amherst, 2 p.m. May 30
The parade begins at Williamsville South High School and goes down Main to Los Robles Street.
Canalside, May 28-30
A Boardwalk Carnival will have 16 rides and games for all ages, plus food, live entertainment and more. Admission is free with unlimited ride bracelets for $20 per day per person or individual ride tickets for $1 each. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 28-29 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 30
Letchworth State Park, May 27-30
Red, White, and Blue Balloon Rally 2016
What a way to celebrate. They’ll have six scheduled flights of 30 balloons from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The launch site is the Archery Field Overlook on the main park road at the Castile Entrance. One mile north of the Glen Iris Inn. It's all weather dependent. For more info, call (585) 493-3600
Niagara Falls - Old Falls Street, USA, noon to 10 p.m. May 28-29
The Memorial Weekend block party (101 Old Falls St.) will have plenty of food and fun including entertainment, bounce houses and an inflatable slide.
Old Fort Niagara, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 28-29
This is the fort’s annual time line event which spans more than four centuries of history from the 17th century through the Cold War. Visitors will learn about the evolution of weapons, vehicles, and historic clothing. The reenactments will give you a chance to experience a soldier’s life as it existed in the past.