For Carl Marranca, Memorial Day begins at 6 a.m., when he arrives at Brounshidle Post 205, American Legion, of the Town of Tonawanda, and gathers the wreaths that will be laid at veterans’ graves across the town.
Though Marranca has been chairman of Ken-Ton’s Memorial Day Parade for more than 35 years, the remembrance ceremonies preceding the parade represent the true meaning of the holiday.
“Memorial Day to me is the day we remember the dead and honor them,” he said.
The post will hold its annual wreath layings and 21-gun salutes beginning at 8 a.m. Monday in Failing Cemetery. Ceremonies will also be at held at the Veteran’s Monument at Colvin and Brighton at 8:15 a.m.; the Vietnam Memorial at 8:30 a.m.; the VFW Monument in Elmlawn Cemetery at 8:45 a.m.; the Field of Honor in Elmlawn at 9 a.m.; the World War II Monument in Mount Olivet Cemetery at 9:15 a.m.; the Municipal Building at 9:20 a.m.; and the monument in front of the Brounshidle Post at 9:30 a.m.
Ken-Ton’s parade begins at 11 a.m. and proceeds down Delaware Avenue from south of Sheridan to Lincoln Blvd. to Elmwood Ave. It will feature at least 55 marching units, including high school bands, fire departments and community groups.
“We enjoy the benefits of freedom every day, and this parade is our small way of paying tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the rewards,” the parade committee said in a statement. “All are encouraged to come out and show support along the parade route and at the various Memorial Services for the dedication and service given by our veterans, both young and old.”
Throughout the weekend, Western New Yorkers will take a moment to commemorate our veterans at parades, wreath- layings and other ceremonies and gatherings:
Old Fort Niagara presents “Soldiers Through the Ages.” GIs in olive drab uniforms with steel helmets will join comrades from earlier centuries. Concerts of fife and drum music throughout the day. The program begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with a military parade and colors ceremony inside the fort. At 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. re-enactors will demonstrate weapons and tactics used by various armed forces from the matchlock arms of the 17th century through infantry weapons of World War II. Living history programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. At 11 a.m. Monday, a special memorial service will be held in the Fort Niagara Military Cemetery by Lake Ontario Post 313, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
• Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo joins thousands of Catholic cemeteries across the U.S. in a national celebration, “Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes.” Active military and veterans are invited to participate in Memorial Day Mass and other cemetery-related activities throughout the weekend. Families and friends will be able to sign messages on special tribute boards which will be located in each of the cemeteries.
Masses are scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda, led by Monsignor Francis Weldgen; Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna, led by Monsignor William J. Gallagher; Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lewiston, led by Monsignor David G. LiPuma; and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheektowaga, led by the Rev. David A. Bellittiere.
At 10 a.m. Monday, a Mass will be offered in Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Lockport, led by the Rev. James A. Waite; and St. Adalbert Cemetery, Lancaster, led by Monsignor Jerome Sullivan.
• St. Matthew’s Cemetery, 180 Old French Road, West Seneca, will host two Memorial Day ceremonies over the weekend. A special ceremony led by Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post 6251, Veterans of Foreign Wars, will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the cemetery’s Veterans Plaza. At 9 a.m. Monday, the Town of West Seneca Veterans Committee will hold a special ceremony in the Field of Valor. Refreshment will be served. Reservations are preferred for both ceremonies. Call 822-1960 or visit: www.stmatthewscemetery.com
• Brothers of Col. John B. Weber Camp No. 44, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, hosts a Memorial Day Program, 11 a.m. in the Trinity Area of Concordia Cemetery, 438 Walden Ave. Rededication of the tombstones for Pvt. August Blanck, 65th Infantry Regiment, N.Y. National Guard, and his brother, Pvt. John Blanck, New York 116th Infantry Regiment, for Civil War service.
• Lake Erie New York Chapter 4 of the Blue Star Mothers hosts the second annual Gold Star Memorial, honoring local Chautauqua County’s Gold Star heroes from the Revolutionary War to present, at 10 a.m. in Jamestown Veteran Memorial Park, West Third Street at Harding and Logan streets.
• Law enforcement, military and civic groups march in Niagara Falls’ parade. It starts at 11 a.m. from the City Market at 18th Street and Pine Avenue, ending at the Veterans Memorial monument in Hyde Park, where a ceremony will follow.
• Riverdale Cemetery Association holds a ceremony at noon in the Veterans Section of Riverdale Cemetery. Military honors will be rendered by the Conrad F. Kania Detachment No. 230 of the Marine Corps League. Prayers will be offered for the deceased U.S. military veterans. Coffee and cake will be served following the service.
• Lakeside Cemetery, in collaboration with Hamburg Township VFW Post 1419 and Cub Scout Packs 143 and 592, salutes veterans with a special ceremony at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Lakeside Cemetery’s Field of Valor located at 4810 Camp Road, Hamburg.
• Edward M. Kolek, a World War II bomber pilot who served over 39 years in the Air Force Reserve after the war, is the honorary grand marshal of Lockport’s Memorial Day parade. Parade starts at 1 p.m. from Veterans Park on East Avenue, ends at the County Courthouse.
• Adam Plewacki Post No. 799, American Legion, hosts a Memorial Mass led by the Rev. Fabian Maryanski and a military salute service at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew Church, Crocker and Reiman streets in Sloan. Ceremony includes reading of veterans’ names who have died since Memorial Day 2013. The Cheektowaga Youth Y.E.S. Group will be assisting the post in placing American flags at St. Stanislaus Cemetery for Memorial Day.
• Memorial Day parade lineup in Elma at 12:30 p.m. at Tomarsue Drive, proceeding down Two Rod Road to cemeteries, finishing at Pavilion on Bullis Road. A Chicken BBQ will be supplied by Wendels at the Community Center, 1810 Two Rod Road, starting at 11 a.m. until sold out. Free hot dogs will be supplied after parade by the Kiwanis Club.
• The Wales Town parade lines up at 11:30 a.m. at Hunters Creek Road, proceeding at noon to the Edmund “Bud” Bogucki Memorial Park on Route 20A.
• Town of Hamburg will hold a veterans concert from 7 to 10 p.m. in Memorial Park, Lake and Union streets.
• Parade begins at 1 p.m. at the cemetery on Two Rod Road and ends at Veterans Memorial, Marilla. A special dedication will honor Stuart Rowland, 93, who died May 11 before he could see the flag display he organized at the Veterans Memorial.
• The Sons & Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War holds its annual ceremony at 10:30 a.m. at the GAR Monument in Section 14 of Forest Lawn to honor veterans from the Civil War, with wreath placement, military salute and decoration of all graves with flags.
• Elma United Methodist Church will hold its 95th annual “March to the Cemetery” at 9 a.m. at their fellowship hall, 2991 Bowen Road, Elma. Speakers will talk about people who have served the church and children will place flags on veterans’ graves.
• The Village of Hamburg Memorial Day Parade starts at 10:15 a.m. from Union-Pleasant Elementary School to Memorial Park, where a ceremony will take place at 11 a.m.
• In Springville, the Town of Concord Memorial Day parade begins at 10 a.m. on North Buffalo Street and proceeds to Fiddler’s Green Park, where a wreath will be placed at the monument, then along Franklin Street and Main Street to Maplewood Cemetery, where there will be a service at the Mound.
• Wheatfield Post 1451, American Legion, will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial on Ward Road.
• The Depew Joint Veterans Committee begins its annual Memorial Day ceremonies with church services held at 9:15 a.m. at Vine Wesleyan Church, 425 Penora St., Depew, followed by a parade from the Village Hall to Veterans Park at 10:30 a.m. and a memorial service in Veterans Park at 11:15 a.m. Refreshments will be served at the Depew Fire Hall on Meridian St. after services.
• St. John’s-Grace Episcopal Church hosts an interdenominational service, with readings, prayers, and music, at 10 a.m. at the church, 51 Colonial Circle. Program concludes at the War Memorial across the street, with an a cappella chorus of over 70 people singing Amazing Grace.
• American Legion Post 838 of Clarence leads the annual parade for the Clarence community. The parade will assemble at 10:30 a.m. from Clarence High School, Main Street and Gunnville Road.
March begins at 11 a.m., ends at Clarence Town Park, 10450 Main St., followed by ceremonies at noon in the Town Park Clubhouse. Chiavetta’s chicken BBQ dinners and drinks available at cost. Children activities.
• Lancaster Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7275 holds a memorial service at 9 a.m. in Lake Avenue Veterans Park, followed by a parade from the park along Lake Avenue, School Street, Pleasant Avenue and Central Avenue to Lancaster Town Hall.
• The West Seneca parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. from Southgate Plaza and proceeds up Union Road to the Vietnam Memorial located in front of West Seneca Town Library, followed by a flag ceremony. Guest speaker will be Lt. Jamie-Lynn Winkler, training officer for Operational Health Support Unit in Portsmouth.
• Memorial Day Parade lineup set for 9 a.m. at the Elma Library, Bowen and Rice roads, Elma. Parade proceeds down Bowen Road to the veterans memorial at Town Hall, 1600 Bowen Road, where a ceremony will be held.
• Matthew Glab Post 1477, with Ladies Auxiliary Unit, the Sons of the American Legion and the Junior Auxiliary, holds a Memorial Day service at 1 p.m. at the Post, 1965 Abbott Road, Lackawanna.
• The 42nd annual Wilson Historical Society Memorial Day Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the museum grounds, located at 645 Lake St., Wilson. The American Legion will sponsor a special Memorial Day flag-raising ceremony at noon. The fair also includes a flea market with over 250 vendors, free entertainment by the Bar Room Buzzards, Chiavetta’s Chicken BBQ, hot dogs and burgers, and more. The Antique Car Museum and Museum Depot will be open. Parking is free. A shuttle bus is available.
• Parade starts at noon at Hunters Creek and Big Tree roads in Wales, with a ceremony following at the Edmund Bogucki Wales Town Park..
• The Erie County American Legion in Forest Lawn for its annual ceremony to honor veterans. At 8:30 a.m., flags placed on the graves of veterans in the Field of Valor and the cemetery’s American Legion section. At 9 a.m., ceremony held in front of the American Legion Memorial Monument in the Veterans Section, near the Main Street gates.
• The American Legion Brounshidle Post 205 of Kenmore hosts annual remembrance ceremonies with wreath layings and 21 gun salutes at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Elmlawn Memorial Park.
Ceremonies held at 8:30 a.m. inside the Brighton Road Gate at the Vietnam Memorial; 8:45 a.m., at World War II Memorial; and 8:45 a.m. at Field of Honor.