03/31/10 — Veterans group makes plans for Memorial Day celebration

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Veterans group makes plans for Memorial Day celebration

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 31, 2010 1:46 PM

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Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition President Bill Graham presides over a planning meeting for this year's Memorial Day activities.

Memorial Day might be two months away, but those in charge of the local observance are already gearing up for a weekend dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Members of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition met earlier this month to discuss a series of events that have become a summer tradition -- a Sunday breakfast at the American Legion headquarters followed by placement of flags at the graves of local heroes and a Monday program at Wayne Community College.

Coalition president Bill Graham called getting an early start a must.

"We really need to get it right. I mean, families do call. They call and say, 'Could you please put a flag on my husband's grave? My son's grave?'" he said. "We really need to make sure all cemeteries are covered."

So far, more than 1,000 new flags for the gravesites have already been ordered.

And a speaker for the May 31 program, local Medal of Honor recipient Joe Marm, has been selected -- the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Honor Guard also has signed on to participate and a playlist for the slideshow portion of the event is in the works.

But the most important detail, members of the Coalition said, won't be hammered down until that late-May weekend.

"We really want to fill that auditorium this year," Coalition member and retired Marine Bill Carr said. "People should be out there, honoring our veterans, you know? That's why we got Joe Marm. He's an outstanding American and people love a Medal of Honor."

So Carr and his comrades are urging the public to plan ahead for the local remembrance -- just as they, too, are taking the time to ensure those who died in defense of the nation remain cherished by those grateful for their sacrifice.

"Memorial Day is supposed to be a day where we remember, so that's what we'll do," Carr said. "I just hope there's a nice crowd out there. But don't do it for us. Do it for the guys who laid down their lives."