The Memorial Day parade and ceremony is back in Dexter

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A scene from a past Memorial Day parade in Dexter. photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dexter

The following is an announcement from the Rotary Club of Dexter to let people know the Memorial Day parade and ceremony is happening this year (after time off) and how to get involved if they want to.

Dexter’s Memorial Day Parade will be held this year on Monday May 30 at 10 am with a theme of Honor and Service. Immediately after the parade finishes, the Memorial Day Ceremony will begin in Monument Park, featuring music from the Dexter Community Choir. 

Dignitaries will include Retired US Navy Commander Chris Gordon of the Rotary Club of Dexter as Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Charles Bigelow of St. Andrews United Church of Christ for invocation, and Retired US Army Colonel Daniel Alabre as guest speaker. Anyone who would like to participate in the parade can find an application and parade rules at this link: dextermemorialdayparade.com. The event is presented by the Rotary Club of Dexter.

What we now refer to as Memorial Day began in the aftermath of the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any conflict in US history and caused an enormous outpouring of pain and grief throughout the country. Twenty thousand Civil War dead were buried at Arlington National Cemetery, our first national cemetery, on the estate of former Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and more could be found in every city, town, hamlet, and churchyard across the country. In the years that followed the end of the War in 1865, it became common for communities to honor those who fell with ceremonies and by decorating their graves with spring flowers. The first nationally recognized Decoration Day (as it was called then) was celebrated mostly in the Northern states, where each state had made it an official State holiday by 1890. However, in the early years, communities in Southern states often continued to choose different dates for their memorial observances. After World War I, the holiday evolved to commemorate Americans who died in all wars and to be called Memorial Day more commonly. In 1968, Memorial Day was established as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Today, many Americans celebrate the holiday as an informal kick-off for the summer season. But its true meaning, to observe a day of solemn reflection in gratitude and remembrance honoring those who have fallen in the service of their country, is marked by ceremonies in towns across the nation and by hanging the flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day and then raising it to the top of the staff. To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, Americans are urged to pause at 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day for a National Moment of Remembrance.

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