On Monday, Michigan's heroes will all be honored in downtown Eaton Rapids. They're the men and women who've died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We're at war, and if a soldier falls when we're at war, he needs to be honored, not only because of the sacrifice he made, but his family made as well," says Petty Officer 2nd Class Norman Verhage, who just returned last week from Afghanistan.
Adds Memorial Day Parade and Service Organizer Patrick Rich, "The families need to know that people do care about them, and that we're there. And we want to support them and do what we can to help them heal."
According to the Detroit Free Press roughly 160 men and women from our state have died in the war on terror. Rich says, while the day will begin with a U-S Army Flyover, the rest of the event will be a quiet and solemn affair.
"Americans have lost touch of what Memorial Day is all about. They think it's the Fourth of July. Fourth of July is a celebration. Memorial Day you don't throw candy from cars. You don't have clowns and scooters. This is to pay honor to all those fallen soldiers."
132 diffrerent families from around the state and country are expected to attent the parade in honor of their loved one.
"They sacrificed just as much because they sacrificed a loved one," says PO2 Verhage.
Though the day of rememberance is simply one day Rich says, "It's everyday for some of these families, like all the Nealy's, Elsworth's. It's every single day."
Adds PO2 Verhage."We should always remember all the soldiers that have fallen, all the soldiers that are serving our country right now."
The parade is scheduled to begin at 11:00am on Monday. A memorial service will follow at Island Park.