Memorial Day ceremonies, a day of remembrance

Emma Dale • May 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. James Butler was much younger when he viewed Memorial Day as a day off of school or work. That all changed when he was drafted at age 18. He said being in Vietnam made him realize “the true meaning” of Memorial Day.

Butler was one of several speakers at Monday’s memorial services at the Waterfront Stadium in Grand Haven.

A parade and Memorial Service were also held on Monday in Spring Lake.

The Hooligans — Bill Klungle, Tom Hibiske, John Workman and Chuck Staffer —  performed an aerial flyover to start off festivities in Grand Haven.

The downtown area and Waterfront Stadium were filled with people happy to take advantage of beautiful spring weather to honor those who fought and died for our country.

Veterans paraded by the crowds on Washington Avenue on their way to Waterfront Stadium for the memorial service.eterans walked and rode by waving at attendees. 

The morning ceremonies focused on remembrance, with the stands at the Waterfront Stadium filled to honor the ones who fought, and the ones who gave their lives at battle. 

Butler also stressed that it was important to be a helping hand to veterans suffering post traumatic stress disorder and to get them help if they need it.

Mayor Geri McCaleb mentioned how growing up during a wartime she realized “how fragile freedom is.” In those circumstances she learned how dramatically life can change, and expressed her appreciation for veterans.

The memorial featured the Grand Haven High School band as well as soloist Shawndra Draeger, who sang “God Bless America.”

Ray Kuiper of Grand Haven, joined the U.S. Navy near the end of the Korean War.

Kuiper said being at the service felt like he belonged there. He defined Memorial Day as “a time of reflection, remembrance, time to give a pause of what has been done and those who have not come back.”

Following the Waterfront event was a Veterans’ Memorial at the YMCA and G.A.R. Lot at Lake Forest Cemetery.

Spring Lake’s parade started an hour after the Grand Haven event. It ended in the Spring Lake Township Cemetery, where the memorial service took place.

Barbara Storey Casemier, served as the parade’s grand marshal. The Spring Lake resident served in the U.S. Army Nurses Corps.

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