RICHARD A. STEVENSONSpring has really gone by quickly. I find it hard to believe that Memorial Day will be here in just a few days. And, along with Memorial Day, comes one of my favorite events of the year, the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade. The Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at Waynedale United Methodist Church, 2501 Church Street, and proceed down Old Trail Road to Prairie Grove Cemetery.

My office will be participating in the Parade again this year as we have every year since I took office. I believe that it is important for me and my staff to take every opportunity to get out in the community and to greet you. We want to listen to your concerns and answer your questions about the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office.

We also want to show our support on Memorial Day for our veterans and for the men and women currently serving in the military. They deserve our thanks for their service and sacrifices. We also want to support the Waynedale community. The Memorial Day Parade is an outstanding example of how Waynedale pulls together to organize an event that can be enjoyed by everyone.

I hear from Beulah Matczak of the Waynedale Community Improvement Team that a bake sale to support the Team will be taking place at the Memorial Day Parade. The Team sponsors several events in the Waynedale area such as the recent Easter Egg Hunt. The bake sale will begin at 9 a.m. in the bank lot at the corner of Lower Huntington and Old Trail Roads and continue until everything is sold. So please help out the Team by purchasing and enjoying some yummy goodies.

I can remember my elders referring to Memorial Day as “Decoration Day.” I recently learned that originally Memorial Day was called “Decoration Day,” and the name Memorial Day did not come into general use until after World War II. Memorial Day, or what was then “Decoration Day,” originated just after the Civil War to honor the fallen soldiers.

Residents of both the North and the South had their own versions of the commemoration, but most involved decorating the graves of fallen soldiers. That is why the day first was called “Decoration Day.” By the twentieth century, Memorial Day was extended to remember all men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, as well as all veterans. Memorial Day did not become an official Federal holiday until 1971.

Memorial Day also became an occasion for remembering ones own relatives. In the earlier part of the twentieth century, persons often visited the graves of their deceased relatives. Sometimes these visits took on the character of family reunions which included a “pot luck” meal. My family still does this every year.

We gather at Lindenwood Cemetery, where our relatives are buried, to honor them. My brother owns horses and a wagon and some of my family members ride in the wagon to the cemetery. After we remember our relatives who have passed on, we gather for a family meal. Until I looked into the history of Memorial Day, I did not realize that my family’s Memorial Day observation was so steeped in tradition.

Of course, another tradition of Memorial Day is having a parade similar to the one we have in Waynedale. Ironton, Ohio, claims to have had the nation’s first Memorial Day Parade on May 5, 1868, and has had one ever since. As we do every year, our office plans to have some surprises for those attending the Waynedale Parade. We hope to see you there.

Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee