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Recap: 2023 Memorial Day Parade

By Michelle Hazekamp

May 30, 2023

Remembering & Honoring Our Fallen Hero's

Memorial Day; a day to remember and honor our military hero's who valiantly sacrificed their lives fighting for freedoms that only this nation offers. Freedoms that are gracefully given to us by God, and values held that bestow righteousness. This year's Fruitport Old Fashioned Days Memorial Day Parade was certainly a celebration to honor and remember, yet also a celebration of life; for they have died so we can live, free.

Are We Worthy of Their Sacrifices?

It was a day filled with sunshine and warmth. Maybe a little too warm, but appreciated after the coldness of winter as a warm welcome to summer. People crowded the streets with red, white and blue adorned clothing, flags and popsicles, and parade floats were decorated with American flags to honor the sacrifices of our fallen hero's and reflect on those family members & friends who never returned home from wars of past. To ponder what they had seen, felt and experienced, especially in their last moments, we must ask ourselves, are we worthy of their sacrifice? Is this nation worthy of their sacrifice? No matter what your answer, it is our duty to keep their memories alive and not let their sacrifices lie waste in vain. For a new battle to maintain the victory they have suffered, is now upon us, yet most of us will never experience the ultimate sacrifice of those in which we honor on this day.

Fellowship with Friends

The Memorial Day Parade is always one of our most enjoyable parades. We see many familiar faces and friends who we see on a regular basis, yet a lot who we only see occasionally. As floats & cars are being decorated at the Fruitport Middle School and patiently awaiting the parade to begin, people rendezvous throughout the parking lot to socialize. Along side our local Veterans, were groups such as the Fruitport Police & Fire Dept., Muskegon County Right to Life, Solomon Karate School, Fruitport Marching Band, Senator Bumstead & State Rep., Luke Meerman, and many more.

Decorating with a Patriotic Punch

This year the Muskegon County GOP has downsized from having access to a large trailer for our parade floats to a much smaller one. Since our "float" is always borrowed, Kerry & Renea Knight, GOP members, have graciously provided their trailer for our use in the parades this year, as our previous one provided by Zach Lahring has been retired from parade duty. No matter the size, the Muskegon GOP knows how to "pack a punch" when it comes to patriotic decor! Many came to help decorate and walk to represent the Muskegon County Republican Party.

The Queens of the GOP Float

Our special "float riders" were Sandy Glore and Gail Eichenhorst, who waved to onlookers. These two precious ladies are long time patriots and while walking beside them, I couldn't help but notice so many people in the crowd calling out to them and waving. It was as if they were the queens of the parade, and were definitely the "Queens" of our Muskegon GOP float. Riding along with them was our "bubble lady," Christine Cain, who controlled our bubble machine in the back. With bubbles blowing everywhere, excited kids throughout the crowd ran up to pop them while our County Chair Malinda Pego and her 3 kids passed out candy & flyers. Walking ahead of the float holding our banner was 2022 Representative candidate, Mick Bricker & GOP member, Bob Cain.

A Small Sacrifice

This year's Memorial Day Parade had a big crowd, however, it did seem there was a lower attendance than normal. When the parade came to an end, we were hot, sweaty and tired; a small sacrifice compared to giving one's life to secure the freedom of a whole nation.

They served and fought and died

so that we might be safe and free.

Grant them, oh Lord, eternal peace

and give them the victory.

And in these days of unrest

filled with grave uncertainty,

let's not forget the price they paid

to keep our Country Free.

-Helen Steiner Rice

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