By Alicia Dziak

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer, many times involving family picnics, great shopping deals and a day off. Before you pull out those white pants and head to the mall, take a few moments to reflect on the true reason for this holiday: remembrance.

This weekend, make sure your American flag is flying, immerse yourself in patriotism and take a few moments to reflect on the lives that have been lost and the freedoms we all enjoy.

Ellicottville’s annual Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for Monday, May 28 at 11 a.m. through the village. Gather up your family and friends and pay tribute to fallen heroes.

On Monday, May 28, the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Grove Committee will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Sprague Brook Park which will, weather permitting, include a flyover.

The ceremony will commence with placement of the colors by the AMVETS Post 219 Honor Guard at 11 a.m.  It is suggested that people gather at the Memorial Grove prior to 10:30 a.m., at which time many motorcycle riders will arrive from the American Legion in East Aurora and the American Legion in Gowanda.

Gowanda Harley-Davidson will host their Ride to Remember event in conjunction with the ceremony, beginning at the American Legion Post #409 and 100 Legion Dr. in Gowanda. Veterans can enjoy a free breakfast before heading to Sprague Brook.

Beginning at the entrance of the park and leading to the Memorial Grove, the road will be lined on either side with over 1,000 American Flags placed by the committee on Sunday prior to the ceremony.  (The committee notes that they welcome anyone and everyone who would like to assist with flag placement.)  As they make their way to the Memorial Grove, attendees will pass beneath a giant American Flag.

To honor those Erie County citizens who were killed in the Viet Nam conflict, the ceremony will be held in front of the wall where their names are engraved.  The solemn ceremony will honor all U.S. Citizens who gave their lives in service to our country.

Many years ago, the trees that are on either side of the grove were planted, one for each Viet Nam Veteran from Erie County who gave their lives for us, by Schichtel’s Nursery, Inc.

As the holiday weekend unfolds, remember our fallen heroes.