CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) - American Legion Post 61 hosted Memorial Day services in Lakeview Cemetery this morning. Event speaker Retired Marine Lt. Colonel Casey Polkinghorne, speaking to those in attendance, emphasized passing on the day's true solemn meaning to future generations.
"I just want to get the message out what Memorial Day actually is. It is not the beginning of summer, although it is, but that is not why we celebrate it. It is not a three-day weekend. It is to honor those who have given their lives defending our freedom, this country, the constitution and all of us," said Polkinghorne.
While the service honors all fallen veterans, many remember a particular lost friend or loved one on this day. Calumet's service took a moment of silence for Vietnam veteran Marshall Kipina. Kipina's remains come to rest in Arlington Cemetery this year after 50 years missing in action.
"To be there to honor Marshall Kipina and we had a classmate from the class of '68 who died in Vietnam in 1970, Jack Musich. It was great to get to the wall to see his name there. He sacrificed all for all of us and that is something that needs to be remembered," said U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran Joe Waananen.
Four local Vietnam veterans recently returned from the Honor Flight in Washington DC. They solemnly honor local fallen veterans Kipina and Musich both last week in D.C. and today in Calumet.
"Memorial Day is that time to remember those that have served and have fallen and given the ultimate sacrifice. It is a matter of fact that people are out there sacrificing so we can live ours and have the freedom we have in the United States of America. God Bless America," said U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran Oscar Niemela.