Memorial Day weekend isn't just for things like dragging out the grill or spring planting. It's time to remember those who have fallen protecting this country's freedom.
Among the formal ceremonies and other celebrations planned this weekend are:
•Youngstown Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 313 will hold a public Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday. VFW members will march from the Fort Niagara Officers Club to the Fort Niagara War of 1812 Cemetery. Afterward, a reception and open house will be held at the VFW, 434 Third St. Unserviceable flags will be disposed of during a ceremony at the reception. Residents can drop their unserviceable flags off at the post or bring them to the reception. For further information, contact Lance at 716-745-7524.
The VFW also will distribute Buddy Poppies at Melloni's Marketplace, 200 Lockport St., and at Old Fort Niagara. This tradition was inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields." Donations are collected, but not required, to support local veterans and their families.
•Lewiston VFW will observe Memorial Day with its annual parade at 11 a.m. Monday. The parade begins at the Red Brick Municipal Building, 145 N. Fourth St., and goes east on Center Street to Academy Park, where the memorial service will take place. The Lewiston and Youngstown volunteer fire companies, many local politicians, as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, will be present.
•The Niagara Falls Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. It begins at City Market proceeding onto 19th Street to Pine Avenue, across Hyde Park Boulevard, left on Robins Drive and ultimately into Hyde Park. A ceremony will follow.
•Niagara Falls State Park will display fireworks Friday, May 23, Saturday, May 24, and Monday, May 26, at 10 p.m. in celebration of Memorial Day. Fireworks will continue every Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m. over Niagara Falls until Sunday, Aug. 31, weather permitting.
•The Wilson Historical Society will host its 42nd annual Memorial Day Fair from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday on the museum grounds at 645 Lake St. There will be a flag-raising ceremony at noon, a flea market with more than 250 vendors, free entertainment courtesy of the Bar Room Buzzards, a special section of antique and collectable cars, Chiavetta's chicken barbecue and other fair food favorites. Parking is free at the museum, and in the village, there will be a shuttle available taking people to the grounds.
•De La Casa, located at 1437 Ridge Road in Lewiston, will hold an Open Mic Festival from 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday in celebration of Memorial Day. There will be two stages open to local musicians performing all genres of music. A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Jack Beatty Memorial Fund benefitting Niagara Hospice.
•The Town of Niagara Lions and Lioness Clubs will host their annual Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday, May 26, in the Witmer Road Cemetery in the Town of Niagara.
The ceremony will include the placing of a memorial wreath next to the monument by the presidents of the Lions and Lioness Clubs, and a flag ceremony by the Western New York Corps of Cadets, assisted by the Girl Scout Brownie Troop 70008 from the Colonial Village School. The color guard will be provided by the Conrad F. Kania Detachment of the Marine Corps League, which also will perform a live gun salute and play taps to honor all who gave their lives in service of this country.
The Rev. Ron Maines of Forestview Church of God will offer opening and closing prayers. Speakers include James Roscetti from the law office of Roscetti & DeCastro and Lion Michael Hoplight. Also speaking will be Lion Gary Strenkoski, representing the Town of Niagara Business and Professional Association, who will honor several local veterans who participated in foreign wars.
•The American Legion Wheatfield Post 1451 will conduct a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial on Ward Road.
Following the ceremony, chowder will be for sale at the Legion Post along with a raffle for a basket of cheer.
•The Riverdale Cemetery Association will hold a Memorial Day ceremony to honor those who died in military service at noon Saturday, May 24, in the veterans section of Riverdale Cemetery in Lewiston.
Military honors will be rendered by the Conrad F. Kania Detachment of the Marine Corps League and prayers will be offered for the souls of all deceased U.S. military veterans.
Coffee and cake will be served following the service. The public is invited.
•Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo will join thousands of Catholic cemeteries across the U.S. in a national celebration, "Serving God and Country: A Memorial Day Salute to Our Heroes."
Active military and veterans will participate in the Memorial Day Mass and other cemetery-related activities throughout the weekend. Families and friends will be able to sign messages on special tribute boards that will be located in each of the Catholic Cemeteries of Buffalo.
Memorial Day Masses will be celebrated on Saturday, May 24, at Gate of Heaven Cemetery (Lewiston), Mount Olivet Cemetery (Kenmore), Holy Cross Cemetery (Lackawanna), and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (Cheektowaga). On Monday, May 26, Masses will be celebrated at Queen of Heaven Cemetery (Lockport) and St. Adalbert Cemetery (Lancaster).
•Town of Grand Island Memorial Day services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Monday in DeGlopper Memorial Park, at the intersection of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road. In case of inclement weather, the service will take place in the pavilion at Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Post No. 9249 Veterans of Foreign Wars, 2121 Grand Island Blvd.
The Honor Guard of the Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Post No. 9249 VFW will conduct gravesite services May 26, Memorial Day, at the following locations (times are approximate): 7:40 to 7:50 a.m., Whitehaven Cemetery on East River Road (east of Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa); 7:55 to 8:05 a.m., Maple Grove Cemetery (resting place of Charles DeGlopper) on Stony Point Road near Whitehaven Road; 8:15 to 8:25 a.m., Staley Cemetery on West River Road near Staley Road; 8:30 to 8:40 a.m., Assumption Cemetery on Whitehaven Road near Fourth Street; 8:45 to 8:55 a.m., Trinity Cemetery on Whitehaven Road next to Historic Trinity Church; 9 to 9:10 a.m., and St. Stephen Cemetery on Baseline Road next to Old St. Stephen Church.