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TALLMADGE -- As the community gathers Monday to honor those who've died serving in the country's armed forces, a local garden club will unveil a permanent tribute to their sacrifice.
A Blue Star Memorial marker will be dedicated immediately following the Memorial Day parade at the city's cemetery, located on South Avenue and off Southwest Avenue, courtesy of the Northeast Garden Club of Tallmadge. The marker honors "all veterans past and present" according to Diann Vogliano, a member of the garden club which raised "almost $1,400" for the marker.
"We feel this is a privilege to honor our veterans this way," Vogliano told the Tallmadge Express. The Tallmadge Blue Star Memorial marker project is an outgrowth of a National Garden Clubs program started in 1945 to honor those serving in the armed forces. According to the National Garden Club's website, "The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, and in churches and businesses. This program has been active all through the years to the present, a fitting tribute to our Armed Forces and especially now."
The city's 149th annual Memorial Day parade is scheduled to get under way at 10 a.m. May 29 from the parking lot of Our Lady of Victory Church, 73 North Ave. Participants will proceed from North Avenue to Tallmadge Circle, heading left at Southwest Avenue to the entrance of the city's cemetery.
A ceremony at the Tallmadge City Cemetery will immediately follow the parade, honoring those who gave their life for their country. Judge Thomas Teodosio of the 9th District Court of Appeals will deliver the address. The Tallmadge American Legion Post 255, with help from local Girl, Boy and Cub Scout troops, plus Brownies, decorated the graves of veterans with flags on May 26. The legion post has organized the parade since the 1950s.
At press time May 25, 15 units were slated to take part in the parade according to Jim Forsythe, the commander of the Kneil-Lawrentz American Legion Post 255. Veterans from World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, will march or ride in the Tallmadge Memorial Day Parade. Forsythe said he remembers participating in the parade as a member of a Little League contingent. "Going to the parade is something I associate with Memorial Day," Forsythe reports, adding, "The only time I missed the Memorial Day parade, either being in it or helping to organize it, was the years I was in the military," he reports.
Runners can start the holiday by participating in the 2017 Ritchie's Tallmadge Memorial 5K, which gets underway at 8 a.m., or and the 1 Mile Fun Run, which steps off at 8:45 a.m. The race starts in front of the Huntington Bank on Northwest Avenue. Runners should gather at American Elite, 81 Northwest Ave. For more details and to register, visit http://ritchiessports.com or call 330-633-5667.
A pancake breakfast sponsored by the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce at the Tallmadge Community Center, 80 Community Road, will precede the parade. Chamber Executive Director Terry Bumpas says breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to noon and includes all the pancakes you can eat, plus sausage, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. The cost per person will be $7 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 through 10, and free for children 3 and younger. The pancake breakfast will be free to all 5K finishers.
The Tallmadge Historical Society will host open houses at the Old Town Hall and Museum and the Historic Church on Tallmadge Circle from 10 a.m. to noon on Memorial Day. The Schenkenberger House at 35 Southwest Ave. will also be open during that time. All are welcome and there will be no charge.
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC