by Austin Marsman
Martin held its annual Memorial Day parade and ceremonies Monday.
The day began with a parade that stepped off on the corner of Chalmers and East Allegan Streets with community member Mrs. Anita Rambadt serving as grand marshal.
Following her were Martin area veterans, Martin and Hopkins Fire Departments, Martin United Methodist Church, Martin High School and East Martin Christian Marching Bands. Other participants included JC Wheeler Library, community baseball teams, a long line of tractors and classic cars.
Perhaps the highlight was the service at Geib Veterans Memorial Park on the north side of the village, with an emotional invocation from East Martin Christian Reformed Church Pastor Derek Noorman and active duty members raised the flag as the band played the national anthem.
Flags were presented to families of the Martin veterans who died this past year. Receiving the flags were the families of Bob Kelsey, Carl Levett, Jake Vandenberg and Verl Scott. Names of civilians who passed this year were also read and remembered by community members in attendance.
To close the ceremony, a wreath was laid by two Martin area vets at the Memorial Park as Martin High School Senior Drum Major Tylor Torres and Junior Frankie Johnson played “Taps.”
Reflecting on the activities, Torres said it was “an amazing day… being surrounded by my community as I played ‘Taps’ for the last time… it was a phenomenal experience, and I was overcome with many emotions.”
Notable people from Martin who have served include Andrew Bee (LINK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Bee_(soldier) ), who captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis; Frank Doezema (LINK: http://www.virtualwall.org/dd/DoezemaFx01a.htm ) (my great uncle), who was killed in Vietnam; and Kevin Martin, an active duty surgeon.
Memorial Day is a time to remember those we have lost and honor their sacrifices.
PHOTOS: (All courtesy of Austin Marsman) The colors were demonstrated proudly in the parade.
The family of deceased veteran Jake VanDenBerg accepted an American flag in his memory.