EVART — Memorial Day ceremonies in Evart have long been a community tradition.

This year, as in years past, area residents and visitors gathered at Guyton Park at 10 a.m., Monday, May 30, to begin the commemoration with a salute to the fallen in wars in which United States troops have taken part in from the founding of this nation.

Under the auspices of local veterans organizations, the ceremony began with wreath laying, the lowering of the nation’s flag to half staff and a memorial prayer for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

Following the firing of a volley in salute of the fallen and the playing of Taps, a parade formed and made its way down Main Street to the applause of hundreds of local residents.

A short ceremony was held at the Muskegon River bridge before the crowd formed once again at Forest Hill Cemetery where memorial salutes continued and remarks in honor of the occasion.

REED CITY

It was a perfect day for a picnic, what with all the rain and cold that shattered plans for the past few weeks. Yet hundreds of people lined the streets of Reed City, took part in the parade or saluted the flags that went by or applauded those who took part.

There were quiet moments at the courthouse, where the parade paused and the grand marshall, Bob Thiel, carried the wreath and placed, then snapped to attention and saluted. Pastor Jeff Potter of Trinity Lutheran Church offered prayer, there was a 21-gun salute by Reed City VFW Post 2964, and then it was the long trip to Woodland Cemetery.

Many went. By car. On foot. The flags were posted on the pavilion among the many graves, and one said so much, “You will not be forgotten.” This day they weren’t and others voiced assurance they aren’t. While many in the military are still in war zone battles, the thoughts this day scattered to the husbands and fathers, grandfathers and sons who fought and died, and came back to those still on faraway battlefields or will be some day.

A prayer was offered, the band played, people stood silently, the guns sounded again, and it was strangely quiet then for just a bit as people appeared to be thinking maybe of all that had transpired this day because of those yesterdays.

Then within a very short time, the cemetery was quiet again. Some walked home. Some rode. Others sat and visited quietly. Children played tag. Still other families walked among the stones.

A moment shared. People cared. After all, this was Memorial Day, 2011.