Tonawanda News — Many of us look forward to Memorial Day because it represents a break from work and a chance to spend time picnicking with family and friends, but to those who have served in the military it is impossible to forget the true meaning behind the holiday.
“It’s hard to find someone that hasn’t been touched by war,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, who served in Army National Guard and spent a year in Afghanistan. “Memorial Day is different from Veterans Day because it’s about those that didn’t make it back. I had guys that didn’t make it back. It’s about them and their families and how everyday they bear the price of our way of life.”
Several events will take place in the Tonawandas over the course of Memorial Day Weekend as a part of this remembrance. The events in North Tonawanda kick off at 6 a.m. Sunday with a cannon firing by the Elks Lodge, followed by the wreath ceremony at noon at the Renaissance Bridge, which mirrors the wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“It’s our version of laying a wreath down at the graves of those who have died,” Ortt explained. “We don’t have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so we throw the wreath in the canal to recognize the sacrifice of all the Twin Cities folks over the years in various conflicts.”
Those marching in NT’s Memorial Day Parade will line up at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Taber Place and Payne Avenue. The parade begins at 2 p.m. and will head south on Payne, ending at City Hall. At 2:30 p.m., rifles will fire and taps will play, and Ortt will give a speech at Brauer Park.
The Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore, together with the American Legion No. 205, VFW Post 2472, will hold their Memorial Day Parade at 11 a.m. Monday on Delaware Avenue. It will start just south of Sheridan Drive, turn down Lincoln Boulevard and finish up on Elmwood Avenue.