By Karen Carr Keefe
Senior Contributing Writer
On Monday, Grand Island will honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country while in military service.
A Memorial Day ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial Park, at the intersection of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road. A reception will follow the ceremony at Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249.
The ceremony is open to the public. Participating in the ceremony are the Town of Grand Island through its Recreation Department, VFW Post 9249, American Legion Post 1346 and the Grand Island High School wind ensemble under the direction of John Reed.
Memorial Day is a time when Americans across the nation show their gratitude for those who have laid down their lives to help our country remain free and strong. The community of Grand Island is no exception, as the Memorial Day ceremony generally brings out hundreds of residents to both reflect on the bravery of those who have died for their country and to thank veterans for their service.
Town Recreation Supervisor Joseph Menter said the town is honored to be able to work with VFW Cmdr. Brian Tippett and American Legion Cmdr. Ray DeGlopper in planning the event.
Menter said part of the ceremony is calling the roll of the names of Grand Islanders who have lost their lives in the service of their county. Their names are on the veterans wall at the DeGlopper Memorial Park, and carnations are placed at the base of the monument, he said.
On June 5, 2021, the DeGlopper Memorial Park Expansion was dedicated and a statue of Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper was unveiled, along with an updated monument honoring the 17 Grand Islanders who were killed in action.
The park was filled with people at the time of the dedication, showing in their numbers the pride and gratitude of the community.
Tippett is a Global War on Terrorism veteran – 9/11 and after – serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. Army National Guard. In 2014, he went on the status of Active Guard Reserve, working full time for the National Guard for the state of New York. He has 23 years of total service in the military, 16 years of which were in uniform on active duty orders.
He explained that “The textbook purpose of Memorial Day is to honor service members who died in the military during service to our nation … in giving the sacrifice to the county for the cause. So, whether it be the Civil War freedoms and ultimately keeping the country together all the way through every single war we’ve been in, conflict that our nation’s politicians have determined are required to enforce military action, and those that bravely fought till, ultimately, their life force was extinguished.”
Tippett said that, growing up, he was not given as good an education as he provided to his students and his own children as far as the meaning of Memorial Day.
“I had several friends who didn’t come home with me after multiple tours,” he said. “I had some friends that came home, but it really wasn’t them that came home … it changes people. And some are able to home in the negatives and force it into positives; some people live with the pain, or the torment or the change – or however they want to define it.
“I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been able to turn most of my change to a positive and help prepare our younger generations with the inevitable getting called out to another war.”
“Memorial Day to me is honoring the time I served with those that didn’t come home and, honestly, just giving a day to reflect on those that I didn’t know, but who helped pave the way for where I was in that moment in times of whatever happened overseas,” Tippett said.
“But ultimately it’s honoring those who died in the service of their nation … so that others can live.”