By Sue Botos
There will be a number of ways to take part in or observe events this Memorial Day weekend in Rocky River and Lakewood. The Lakewood and Rocky River Joint Veterans Council and American Legion Post 451 in Rocky River will host several programs, and the Rocky River Relay For Life will take place Saturday.
The observations will kick off Thursday morning with a 7:30-8:30 breakfast at Harding Middle School in Lakewood, followed by a program featuring Ward 1 Councilman David Anderson. Veterans will then be invited to visit classrooms and share their experiences with students. A lunch for veterans will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the school media center. Anyone planning to attend the breakfast or take part in the program should call 440-899-7050 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of Post 451 and other volunteers will place about 3,200 American flags on the graves of veterans at Lakewood Park Cemetery on Saturday. Those who want to help should meet at the Abby Mausoleum at 8:30 a.m. for instructions and maps. Afterward, the post will provide a lunch of hot dogs, pizza and chips at no cost for volunteers. Call Richard Healy, commander of the Lakewood and Rocky River Joint Veterans Council, at 216-221-3376 or e-mail him at email@example.com by today to sign up.
Observances will wrap up with the annual Memorial Day parade, which will form in the Rocky River High School Wagar Road parking lot at 9:30 a.m. The parade steps off at 10:30 a.m., and proceeds down Detroit Road to Lakewood Park Cemetery for a program featuring music by the Rocky River High School band, led by Kirk Taylor.
Vincent Capka, former marine and commander of Post 451, will lead the observance, a “Special Tribute to Our Fallen Comrades and Families.”
Special guest speaker will be Jack Burlingame, who served for more than 22 years in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. He was trained as a cavalry scout, scout sniper and a pilot who retrieved aircraft after the pilot had been killed. He also was a helicopter crew chief.
Burlingame served in Germany and in Canada with two deployments to the Arctic Circle and has received numerous military awards and recognitions.
He has degrees in emergency medical technology from Arizona Western University and nursing from Kent State University, and has studied advanced nursing, writing and public speaking at Lakeland University. He was hired by the Disabled American Veterans National Service Organization in 2007 and assigned to the Cleveland Service, where he is currently assistant supervisor.
Anyone who wants to participate in the parade should contact Richard Healy at the above number or e-mail before May 27 for parade section assignment.
The community is invited to cheer on participants at the Rocky River Relay For Life, which steps off on the high school track at 11 a.m. May 26. The family-friendly event is an overnight relay featuring teams that take turns walking around the track for a 24-hour period. Funds earned by the walkers go toward cancer research, and relay promoters have set a goal of $85,000. At sunset on Saturday, the track will be lined with luminarias, each personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a person who had been touched by cancer. For more information or to make a pledge, visit www. relayforlife.org/rocky river.