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Iron County Memorial Day Weekend Observances
Those who gave their all for their country will be remembered and honored next Monday, May 25, when Iron County and the rest of the nation observes Memorial Day.
Special ceremonies will take place Memorial Day morning at cemeteries around the county, led by the West Side and East Side Veterans councils.
U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek will appear at the Beechwood ceremony at Rosehill Cemetery.
Beechwood: Ceremonies at Rosehill Cemetery in Beechwood begin at 8 a.m., after the AMVETS Post 436 color guard marches to the site.
U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek will place the wreath, assisted by Melina and Annalia Lopez. Benishek will give a short statement, and Melina and Annalia Lopez will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Trumpeter Curt Brendel plays the national anthem.
Dorothy Javoroski, the master of ceremonies, will introduce Pastor Mike Rucinski, who will give the invocation and benediction.
Melina Lopez reads “In Flanders Fields,” followed by a musical presentation by Krista Gussert and Gary Friestrom.
The speaker will be Specialist Lisa Wright of the U.S. Army, an Iraq War veteran. After her remarks, Brendel will play “America,” the roll call is read by Post 436 Commander Frank Jirik, the post’s color guard fires the volley, and Brendel plays taps.
Everyone is invited to the Beechwood Hall immediately after the program for a Memorial Day social.
Stambaugh: Members of Reino American Legion Post 21 will place flags on the graves of veterans at Stambaugh Cemetery on Sunday, May 24, at 9 a.m.
The Memorial Day program starts at 10:30 a.m. Marie Brunswick will be the master of ceremonies.
The flag will be raised by members of the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department, while Kerry Rivard sings the national anthem. Deacon Robert Kostka of St. Agnes/St. Cecelia Catholic church, who is also a member of Legion Post 21, will give the invocation and benediction.
Connie Jagelewski and Roselyn Johnson, members of the Reino Post 21 Ladies Auxiliary, will place a wreath on a cross in honor of all deceased veterans, and West Iron County students Megan Quayle and Zane Sarafiny will give recitations.
This year’s guest speaker is James R. (Jim) Brennan, a native of Nashville, Tenn., who was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve through Vanderbilt University’s ROTC program.
He served active duty from July 1961 to 1963 on the USS Rhodes, home-based in Newport, R.I. After receiving his honorable discharge as a lieutenant in January 1963, he served in the Naval Reserve from 1963 to 1967.
He was employed by corporations for 37 years, working in sales, manufacturing, engineering and international, before retiring to Iron County in March 2000. He was elected as a county commissioner in 2012 and re-elected in 2014. He is a member of American Legion Reino Post 21. Brennan has been married to the former Margee Johnson, a fourth generation Iron County resident, for 50 years this August. They have three adult children and five grandchildren.
The program will conclude with the firing of the volley by members of the Reino Post 21 firing squad and the playing of taps.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department.
Crystal Falls/Amasa: The East Side Veterans Council observance will start with a short parade, which lines up at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Logan Street at 8:30 a.m. and steps off at 9.
The procession marches to the ceremony area at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, where the rest of the program takes place.
Christopher Sholander is the master of ceremonies and opens the program. After the invocation by the Rev. Mike Laakko, the Forest Park High School band will play the National Anthem.
The main speaker will be Katy Gable, who works at the Iron County Veterans Service Office as an accredited veterans service officer. After her remarks and music by the Forest Park band, the Ladies Auxiliary will lead the wreath ceremony, followed by a volley by the color guard, taps by the band’s buglers and a closing prayer.
After the ceremony, participants will board school buses to travel to Amasa for the parade and program there. En route, they will stop at the 82nd Airborne Division Memorial for a wreath ceremony, which includes a prayer by the auxiliary, volley by the color guard and taps. A wreath will be placed on the stand at the site to honor the last living member of the 82nd Airborne, Mr. White of Iron River.
In case of inclement weather, the parade would be canceled, and the service will be held inside the Eddie Chambers Memorial Gym at Forest Park High School starting at 9:30 a.m. An announcement would be made on WIKB radio.
The Amasa parade takes place downtown. After the parade, buses take participants to Hematite Cemetery, where the service will be repeated.
Anyone who would like to help put the flags away on Tuesday, May 26, is asked to be at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery at 11 a.m.
Bates Township: The Memorial Day service at the Bates Township Cemetery will start at 8 a.m., with a flag-raising ceremony by members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 3134 of Iron River.
Ottawa Post 3134 of the VFW will form the color guard, and Jessica Holroyd is the vocalist. Associate Pastor Kraig Tass of Iron River Bible Church will give the invocation and benediction.
Instead of having a speaker, event planners will have a Memorial Day program. Following the roll call, Pastor Tass will give the benediction, the color guard fires its salute and taps is played to end the program.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony takes place at the Township Hall.
Refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony at the Bates Township Hall. Hostesses are Gail Passamani and Mary Baumgartner.
Iron River: Memorial Day events begin at 8 a.m. with the firing of a volley at the old City Cemetery.
At 9:30, the West Side Veterans Council will lead a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial on Genesee Street. The presidents of the Legion Post 17 Auxiliary and VFW Post 3134 Auxiliary will present the wreath at the memorial.
The program at Resthaven Cemetery starts at 11 a.m. The West Side Veterans Council will provide the music.
Gerald Williams, a retired master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, is the guest speaker. Williams is a 1982 grad of West Iron County High School and a 26-year veteran before retiring and moving back to the area.
A combined unit of all veterans groups will assemble for the firing of the volley and the playing of taps. The two Auxiliary presidents will present the wreath at the cemetery.
Following the Resthaven ceremony, the program will be repeated at noon at the cemetery in Alvin, Wis.