Never forgotten: Memorial Day events around the metro-east

News-DemocratMay 25, 2014 

Communities around the metro-east are planning a variety of ways to observe Memorial Day.


The Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10 a.m. Monday from the Cathedral Grade School grounds. It will proceed north on Second Street to West Main, east on West and East Main to Mascoutah Avenue, then south on Mascoutah to Walnut Hill Cemetery.

The parade grand marshal is Air Force Master Sgt. Gustav Benjamin "Ben" Damann, a Belleville native and Belleville West graduate, who served multiple deployments around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans from the four sponsoring groups -- Catholic War Veterans Butz-Jobe Post 370, host of this year's program; American Legion Post 58; Korean War Veterans Imjin Chapter; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1739.

Five marching bands -- Belleville East and West, Belle Valley Middle School, Whiteside Middle School and District 118 -- will participate. There will be a color guard from Scott AFB, vehicles from the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, fire and police vehicles and elected officials and candidates.

The Memorial Day Program at Walnut Hill Cemetery will begin about 11 a.m., following the parade.

Retired Army Col. Bill Fillman will be the master of ceremonies. A welcoming ceremony and raising of the flags will be followed by the singing of the national anthem by Nick Cardoza, the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation by the Rev. Ken York.

The featured speaker will be U.S. Navy Capt. Daryl R. Hancock, director of intelligence for the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base.

In recognition of deceased veterans, post commanders and auxiliary presidents will place flags on a wreath.

The Belleville West High School Band will play "Taps" and "America (My Country Tis of Thee)."

In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held at the Catholic War Veterans Hall, 3535 Route 159, just north of Smithton.

Other Memorial Day programs around the metro-east include:


The City of O'Fallon's Memorial Day Program will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the O'Fallon Veterans' Monument, 737 East Wesley Drive.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Sarah E. Zabel of the U.S. Transportation Command will be the speaker. Participants include the O'Fallon Township High School Air Force Junior ROTC, VFW Post 805. First Baptist Church Adult Choir and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard Rifle Team.

The names of 11 veterans newly inscribed on the monument will be introduced. Patriotic music will begin about 11:20 a.m.

Veterans are encouraged to wear their medals and decorations. Bring lawn chairs. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held at the Cavins Center in O'Fallon Community Park.


The Swansea Memorial Day Celebration will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Melvin Price Park on Caseyville Avenue. There will be patriotic music and a speaker from Scott Air Force Base. The event is sponsored by the Swansea Park Board.


Collinsville VFW Post 5691 has a long-standing tradition of a parade and service to honor deceased veterans. Due to road construction on Vandalia Street, the parade will not take place this year, but the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the post, 1234 Vandalia in Collinsville.

The speaker is Ted Jackson, a Collinsville native and a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam War. The Collinsville High School Band will perform, and a complimentary lunch will follow the ceremony.


Caseyville Memorial VFW Post 1117 invites the public to participate in Memorial Day Services on Monday. A brief service and posting of the flag will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the VFW, 415 Long St. in Caseyville. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. at Caseyville Cemetery. Refreshments will be available at the post after the ceremony.

Granite City

A Memorial Day service will be at 1 p.m. Monday at the Greater Granite City Area War Memorial. Four Vietnam War veterans will be honored by having their names placed on the wall. They are Army Staff Sgt. Johnny Ray Cobb and Army Pvt. Gary Wood, both from Madison; and Army Spec. 5 James Charles Dine and Marine Pvt. 1st Class Bobby Dale Jennings, both from Granite City.

Ron Chiodini of American Legion Post 113 will be the speaker.

Fairview Heights

A Memorial Day ceremony to honor fallen heroes will be at 8 a.m. Monday at Fairview Heights VFW Post 8677, 5325 N. Illinois St.


American Legion Post 485 and VFW Post 6368 will conduct a Memorial Day Service at 11 a.m. Monday at the Memorial Plot, 200 S. Third St. in Dupo.


The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5694 and American Legion Post 439 Joint Parade Committee invite the public to this year's Memorial Day Parade in Highland. The parade will start at 1 p.m. Monday at St. Paul Catholic Church. Parade line-up will be at 12:30 p.m. The parade will turn right on Lemon Street then turn onto 12th Street before turning south on Poplar Street, before turning toward the VFW post, 1900 VFW Lane, where the parade will end and the colors will be posted. Following the parade, a complete Memorial Day program will be held at the VFW. The ceremony will then move outside, and a wreath will be placed at a simulated cemetery.


American Legion Post 778 will hold its 9th annual Memorial Day Celebration from noon to 8 p.m. Monday at Jailhouse Rock in Trenton. Live music and barbecue will be available.

Scott VFW Post 4183

A Memorial Day service will begin at 9 a.m. Monday at Scott VFW Post 4183 (outside the Belleville gate to Scott AFB). Col. Roftiel Constantine will be the speaker.

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