GOSHEN — Rainy weather caused several cancellations, but families still went out Monday, May 27, to honor those who sacrificed their lives for the country.
Memorial Day morning started with rainy, cold weather, which caused Goshen, Nappanee and Middlebury to cancel their parades. Other activities, however, continued as planned.
Goshen held a memorial service at the Elkhart County Courthouse at 9 a.m., where retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Joe Farrell provided the invocation and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly spoke.
“Forever, we are in debt to all the men and women from our state who lost their lives in combat and in all other conflicts,” said Donnelly in a statement. “We will always owe our gratitude to our fallen heroes whose sacrifices grant us our freedoms and remind us every day that as Americans, we will always fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Goshen’s memorial ceremony was held at Oakridge Cemetery, where retired U.S. Navy Chief and Elkhart County Veterans’ Service officer Ron Lundy spoke about his service in the Navy, the importance of the holiday, and thanked the families and veterans who attended the ceremony despite the rain.
According to the National Weather Service’s forecast, showers and thunderstorms were expected in Elkhart County throughout the day, with wind gusts reaching 25 mph and a high temperature of 64 degrees.
Though in smaller numbers, the Elkhart community braved the cold weather to watch the Memorial Day parade. Earlier that day, the William Tuffs Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Elkhart held a wreath-laying ceremony at 12:45 p.m.
Parade-goers lined Main Street from Harrison Street to Lexington Avenue, holding cameras and phones while children waved at those riding on the parade floats. The parade itself lasted about 30 minutes, following a short ceremony at the Elkhart Civic Plaza at 2 p.m.
First responders from Elkhart, as well as Concord, Cleveland and Osolo Township drove down main street with their sirens on. Local clubs, school bands and some veterans followed.
“I’m freezing. It would have been easier if I stayed home,” said Betty Graver, an Elkhart resident who attended the parade to see her granddaughter, a member of the Memorial High School marching band. “It’s pretty nice. There’s a lot more people than I expected.”
Jim Ramsey, a lifelong resident, said he tries to come out every year to the parade. He said last year it was hot and he remembers seeing more people, but the number in attendance for this year’s parade was not bad.
“That’s an indicator of the turnout this year,” he said, pointing at the semi-empty bleachers along the plaza.
A veteran who served in the Navy for four and half years and wished not to be named, said he was glad to see the number of families who turned out for the parade.
“It’s telling of how there’s a lot of support for veterans and the city,” he said.