Maumee Honors Fallen Soldiers During Memorial Day Service

Maumee American Legion Post 320 member Paul LaPorta salutes the wreath representing the Global War on Terrorism as Mayor Jim MacDonald (left) and others look on. MIRROR PHOTOS BY MIKE McCARTHY
Maumee American Legion Post 320 chaplain Dave Ybarra leads the invocation during Monday’s Memorial Day service.

BY MIKE McCARTHY | MIRROR EDITOR — Monday was a time to reflect on America’s fallen soldiers and to thank them for their ultimate sacrifice, and the community of Maumee turned out in full force to do just that.

Following Sunday’s thunder and heavy rain, Monday morning’s breezy 67 degrees seemed like a blessing to the hundreds of residents who participated in the Maumee Memorial Day parade and subsequent remembrance ceremony, held at the Civil War monument memorial park, located on the grounds of Union Elementary School.

The parade was well-attended by people of all ages, who seemed to enjoy themselves as participants walked, danced or drove their way along White, East John and Conant streets.

A particularly large number of young families was noticed along the parade route, which seemed to encourage the parade participants, adding to the enthusiasm of the day.

After the parade disbanded at the intersection of Conant and Broadway streets, all attention turned toward the remembrance ceremony, which was conducted at the site of the war memorial by members of the American Legion Post 320 and featured Mayor Jim MacDonald as the keynote speaker.

Ric Backus, the incoming sergeant at arms of Post 320, welcomed the assembled crowd of nearly 100 people.

Dave Ybarra, the chaplain for American Legion Post 320, delivered the invocation and the Maumee High School Marching Pride performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Mayor MacDonald delivered a speech that provided great details of the devotion and discipline exhibited each day by the American soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Uknown Soldier, located in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

The impeccable attention to detail and precision exhibited by these special guards “proves the importance of Memorial Day and how we should never lose the significance in how we honor the American soldier,” the mayor said.

“We remember those who served and sacrificed, so that we may benefit from the blessings of liberty; not just today, but every single day,” the mayor stated.

Chris Fargo, the incoming commander of Maumee Post 320, spoke next. 

“Our way of life has been made possible by those who have served – and by those who were lost,” he stated.

“More than 1 million men and women have died in wartime throughout the span of our nation’s history,” he continued. “To put that into perspective, that’s more than the populations of San Franciso or Boston.”

“These numbers should truly humble us, as they represent people – individuals – who were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and friends,” he added.

“These were people woven into the fabric of communities across the nation. They were loved. They were mourned. And they are missed. This is the reality of military service, and this is what we take to heart on Memorial Day: We are able to be here today thanks largely to those who are not,” he concluded.

Corey LeRoux, a member of Maumee Post 320, spoke next. He discussed the serious issue of veteran suicide awareness, saying that 20 veterans tragically take their own lives every day.

LeRoux then read the names of the Maumee soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Two plaques were also on display at the site with the names of the many Maumee soldiers who died in the Civil War.

Seven separate wreaths were presented to recognize the sacrifices made in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Global War on Terrorism, and to recognize Veteran Suicide Awareness.

Taps was played by four members of the Maumee High School Marching Pride and the Maumee Community Band played patriotic music to close the ceremony.

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