Five black granite memorials, dedicated to veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq-Afghanistan War, Cold War and nurses of all wars, were set in place May 16 at the Iron River Veterans Memorial. The memorials will be officially unveiled in a special program on Memorial Day, May 28, beginning at 9 a.m. Pictured, from left, are Mike Jacobs of Jacobs Funeral Home of Iron River; Todd Lindahl, Iron River Veterans Memorial Association representative of DAV Chapter 67; Mike Kunchynski of Mike’s Crane Service; Ron Zeller, chair of the Veterans Memorial Association; Dick Weatherholt, association representative of American Legion Post 21; Paul Jacobs of Jacobs Funeral Home of Iron River; and Rusty Poikonen, association representative of DAV Chapter 67.
IRON COUNTY—Those who gave their all for their country will be remembered and honored next Monday, May 28, when Iron County and the rest of the nation observes Memorial Day.
Special ceremonies will take place Memorial Day morning at cemeteries around the county, led by the West Side and East Side Veterans councils.
Iron River: Memorial Day events begin at 8 a.m. with the firing of a volley at the old City Cemetery by American Legion Post 17.
At 9 a.m., a special dedication program will be held at the Iron River Veterans Memorial Association to officially unveil the five new memorials by the Iron River Veterans Memorial Association. The community is cordially invited to attend the program.
The five black granite memorial stones, to honor veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq-Afghanistan War, Cold War veterans and nurses of all wars, is part of Phase 2 of the association’s project to repair and continue maintenance at the memorial.
In 2009, the association began Phase 1 of the project, which included the repair of broken mortar and loose joints, replacement of stones, the building of retaining walls to control erosion problems and the installation of flagpoles for each branch of service.
Phase 2 began in 2010 with the construction of the five granite memorials.
Future plans for Phase 2 include the acquisition of a Vietnam-era helicopter to be placed at the Memorial, if possible, said a spokesperson.
Phase 3 will include the removal of the aluminum panels that cover the names of World War I and World War II veterans, approximately 2,200 names, which will be engraved on black granite panels.
Donations for this phase of the project are now being accepted and can be mailed to: Iron River Veterans Memorial Association, 94 E. Genesee St., Iron River, MI 49935.
At 9:30, the West Side Veterans Council will lead a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial on Genesee Street.
The presidents of the Legion Post 17 Auxiliary and VFW Post 3134 Auxiliary will present the wreath at the memorial. The parade forms on River Avenue at 10 a.m. and marches west on Genesee Street to Sixth Avenue, where it disbands.
The program at Resthaven Cemetery starts at 11 a.m. The West Side Veterans Council will provide the music. Dave Koski of Alfred Branchini American Legion Post 17 is master of ceremonies, and Don Wolf, adjutant of the West Side Veterans Council, will lead the invocation and benediction.
The main speaker will be Judge C. Joseph Schwedler of Iron County Trial Court.
A combined unit of all veterans groups will assemble for the firing of the volley and the playing of taps. The two Auxiliary presidents will present the wreath at the cemetery.
Stambaugh: Members of Reino American Legion Post 21 will place flags on the graves of veterans at Stambaugh Cemetery on Sunday, May 27, at 9 a.m.
The program on Memorial Day starts at 10:30 a.m. Marie Brunswick will be the master of ceremonies.
The flag will be raised by members of the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department, while the West Iron County High School Band plays the National Anthem. Robert Kosktka, deacon of St. Agnes/St. Cecilia Catholic Church, will give the invocation and benediction.
Connie Jagelewski and Roselyn Johnson, members of the Reino Post 21 Ladies Auxiliary, will place the wreath, and West Iron County students Tyler Stafford and Jason Smith will give recitations.
The high school band will play two patriotic songs.
The speaker is Paul Hytinen, a Navy veteran who served in the submarine service from New London, Conn. He was honorably discharged in 1971 as an E6 machinist mate. He then served 23 years with the Michigan State Police, retiring in 1995. He has been married for 47 years and has four children and five grandchildren.
The program concludes with the firing of the volley by members of the Reino Post 21 firing squad and the playing of taps.
Bates Township: The service at the Bates Township Cemetery will start at 8 a.m., with the flag-raising ceremony by members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 3134 of Iron River. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony takes place at the Township Hall.
The Ottawa Post 3134 of the VFW will provide the color guard. Kerry Rivard is the vocalist, and Kraig Tass, assistant pastor at Iron River Bible Church, will give the invocation. Aubrey and Austin Atanasoff will assist in the reading of the roll.
The speaker will be Ron Sykora, whose Naval career included serving on the U.S.S. Triton in 1960 when the submarine became the first to go around the world, entirely submerged for 84 days. A miniature of the Triton appeared at the Iron County Museum last year, and Sykora gave a talk about the Triton there.
A continental breakfast will be served immediately after the ceremony at the Bates Township Hall.
Beechwood: Ceremonies at Rosehill Cemetery begin at 8 a.m., after the AMVETS Post 436 color guard marches to the site.
Dorothy Javoroski will be the master of ceremony and will introduce the Rev, Ken Kaiser of Trinity Lutheran Church, who will give the invocation and benediction. Curt Brendel, a West Iron County student, will play a trumpet solo, “America the Beautiful.”
The speaker will be Maj. Steve Tegge, an infantry officer and company commander in the Army who has served several tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is the son of Iron River resident Richard Tegge, a retired Air Force colonel.
After the reading of the roll call, the Post 436 color guard, led by Commander Frank Jirik, will fire the volley, and Sue Peterson will play taps.
Immediately after the program, everyone is invited to the Beechwood Hall for coffee and refreshments
Crystal Falls/Amasa: The East Side Veterans Council observance will start with a short parade, which lines up at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Logan Street at 8:30 a.m. and steps off at 9.
The procession marches to the ceremony area at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, where the rest of the program will be held.
Christopher Sholander is the master of ceremonies and opens the program. Pastor Mike Laako of United Lutheran Church will give the invocation, and the Forest Park High School band will play the National Anthem.
The main speaker will be Melissa Powell, Iron County prosecuting attorney, who was first elected to the position in 2008.
A Crystal Falls native, Powell is the daughter of Mark Powell and Shirley Pembleton, both natives of Iron River. She grew up in Breckenridge, earned a degree in political science from Grand Valley State University Honors College and received her juris doctor degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1996.
She began her career with the Powell Law Office in Iron River in 1997. She moved to Saginaw County in 1999, working primarily on domestic relations and criminal law. She returned to Iron County in 2002 when she was appointed chief assistant prosecutor.
Powell is a member of numerous professional associations, secretary of the Crystal Falls Lions Club, a trustee for the Iron County Historical and Museum Society and plays on a women’s hockey team.
After her remarks and music by the Forest Park band, the Ladies Auxiliary will lead the wreath ceremony, followed by a volley by the color guard, taps by the band’s buglers and a closing prayer by Pastor Laako.
Following the ceremony, participants will board school buses to travel to Amasa for the parade and program there. En route, the veterans and auxiliaries will stop at the 82nd Airborne Division Memorial for a wreath ceremony led by the 82nd Airborne Auxiliary. The salute includes a volley by the color guard and the playing of taps.
In case of inclement weather, the parade would be canceled, and the service will be held inside Eddie Chambers Memorial Gym at Forest Park High School starting at 9:30 a.m. An announcement would be made on WIKB radio.
The Amasa parade takes place downtown. After the parade, buses take participants to Hematite Cemetery, where the service at Evergreen Cemetery will be repeated.
After the ceremony, Amasa will hold its 15th annual Heritage Day celebration (separate story).
Anyone who would like to help put the flags away on Tuesday, May 29, will be welcome and appreciated. Be at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery after 1 p.m.