City remembers veteransPublished 2:38pm Monday, May 28, 2012
The streets of downtown Dowagiac were lined with residents Monday for the annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies, celebrating and remembering past and present veterans, along with active service men and women.
Despite the unseasonably warm climate, many gathered in front of city hall, on the sidewalks of Front Street and along East Division Street to pay their respects to veterans. Afterward, residents also joined veterans and their families at Riverside Cemetery for a remembrance ceremony. Among those in attendance, Mayor Don Lyons, Senator John Proos and guest speaker Cynthia “Cindy” Jo Parsons urged everyone to remember why Memorial Day exists. Parsons, originally from Ohio, told the crowd the story of her and her son, Sgt. Shane Parsons, and their struggle after Shane was critically injured in Iraq Sept. 30, 2006.
“You can imagine the pain as a mother,” Parsons said. “All I could do was kiss him and tell him, ‘Shane, fight.’”
The Dowagiac Union High School Band played the national anthem as crowd members sang. For resident Clare Wolford, she said the annual celebration is something she looks forward to each year.
“Years ago, my father and I used to organize the parade,” Wolford said. “The Masons then asked to take it over, and I’m glad that they did.”
Wolford, who said she is very patriotic, said the parade and ceremony mean a lot of to her and the citizens of Dowagiac.
“We can’t do enough for our veterans,” Wolford said.
Aerry Deuel, also of Dowagiac, said he attend the parade almost every year, waving to those he knows.
“It means a lot (for me to be here),” Deuel said.
Before the parade’s step-off, Parsons urged the crowd to remember the reason for the day and why it must remain important.
“You don’t see the hidden injuries veterans carry,” Parsons said. “Remember to honor those who serve and protect our country.”