The City of Lansing will break a 30-year tradition this weekend, skipping a Memorial Day parade that was canceled due to a lack of interest.
It's the continuation of a five-year decline in the parade, according to Memorial Day Parade Committee Co-Chair Alfreda Schmidt. Last year, 26 groups signed up to walk. This year, only six submitted applications.
Saying a short parade wouldn't be as valuable or respectful, the city decided to change course.
"We just sought for an answer of how people can adjust and witness the meaning for Memorial Day in another significant way," Schmidt said. "It's truly going to be a day that's exactly that: a memorial day for veterans."
Instead of a parade, the city will host a ceremony in the Evergreen Cemetery featuring music, speakers and discussion.
American Legion Commander Gary Casteel says he's ok with the city's plan.
"As long as veterans are honored, we are good with that," Casteel said in a text message.
Schmidt says it was a tough decision to cancel the parade, but she expects good results from the new program. She called the ceremony truer to the purpose of Memorial Day.
"The program is going to be a little more conscientious about what Memorial Day really means," Schmidt said. "We are doing very much the same thing that they did 102 years ago and that's by planting flowers, that's by circulating information about their loved ones and so on."
That's not the way Lansing residents Diane and Josh Moomey see it. A ceremony in the cemetery, they say is too quiet and out of the way for people to notice the holiday.
"It isn't as public as it should be," said Josh Moomey, a veteran. "It doesn't bring it home like a parade would, when you see the soldiers, and the gold-star mothers and the veterans."
The Moomeys say even a short parade would have had value.
"Ten minutes would have been something," said Diane. "It still would have shown that we're thinking of our vets on Memorial Day whether they're here, not here, serving or not serving."
The Moomeys will not be attending the cemetery ceremony and instead will hold their own personal parade Monday. The couple plans to leave their house at 9 a.m. and make their way to the Capitol by noon.
They say they will be walking with their flags to show support. It's not about butting heads with anyone, they say, and they invite anyone else to join them.
Said Diane Moomey: "We're just trying to show that we support our troops and the veterans that are not here anymore."