Events honor Memorial Day’s real meaning
By David Skolnick
Gas prices keep going up and there’s a chance for showers and thunderstorms, but there are several events throughout the Mahoning Valley this Memorial Day weekend that honor the true meaning of the holiday – paying tribute to those who died in active military service.
The 46th annual Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremonies in Poland Monday kick off at 10 a.m. traveling down College Street to South Main Street, Riverside Drive and into the Riverside Cemetery. A brief ceremony will be held on the Main Street Bridge to honor those lost at sea with a full memorial service at the cemetery.
“For me, Memorial Day isn’t about having sales or shopping, it’s about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country,” said Jeff Vrabel, commander of the Sons of American Legion Mahoning Valley Squadron 15 in Poland, which sponsors the event. “Too often we forget about how important Memorial Day is and its true meaning.”
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Mary DeGenaro will be the keynote speaker and Joe Trolio, an Army and Air Force veteran, is the parade’s grand marshal.
Canfield is having its 97th annual Memorial Day Services event at 10 a.m. Monday at the gazebo on the green with Army Col. Matt Kinkead serving as the featured speaker.
“Memorial Day has a lot of meaning to all of us,” said Mike Kubitza, commander of American Legion Post 177 in Canfield, which sponsors the event. “The day is for remembering our soldiers who are not with us anymore. It’s very important to remember veterans.”
Following the ceremony, there will be a procession to the Canfield East Cemetery to honor deceased Canfield veterans. Then participants will go to the Canfield War Vets Museum to add the names of nine veterans to the facility’s Wall of Fame, Kubitza said.
There are other communities having Memorial Day parades and events including Boardman, Youngstown, North Jackson, Southington and Washingtonville.
The weather should cooperate for the most part though there’s a 20-percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Monday, and a 40-percent chance Sunday, said Dennis Bray, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“The rain doesn’t look like it’s anything severe,” he said. “It could pop up in the afternoon, rain for a bit and be alright after that. It’s not likely anything will be rained out.”
It will be hot with temperatures reaching the mid- to upper 80s through the long weekend, Bray said.
For those traveling, you’ll be paying the highest gas prices for the Memorial Day weekend since 2014, according to AAA East Central’s gas price report. The average Northeast Ohio gas price is around $2.82 a gallon compared to $2.31 a gallon just a year ago, according to AAA.
However, the high gas prices won’t discourage people from traveling, according to AAA.
The organization expects more than 41.5 million Americans to travel this weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years.