From Marco to Bonita: Memorial Day events in Southwest Florida
American Legion Post 404 Memorial Day Ceremony
Marco Island’s American Legion Post 404 will be hosting a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m., Monday, at the Marco Island Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, to honor all America’s Heroes who didn’t come home.
All are welcome to participate in this celebration of our brave men and women who paid the ultimate price to defend our freedoms. The ceremony will be held in the Lutheran Church sanctuary which has a capacity for 400. Seating will be on a first come basis with Veterans having priority.
Originally called Decoration Day, from the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of former Union sailors and soldiers.
During that first national commemoration, former Union Gen. and sitting Ohio Congressman James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery. “We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” Following the speech, 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there. After World War I, it became an occasion for honoring those who died in all of America’s wars and was then more widely established as a national holiday throughout the United States. In 1971 it officially became a holiday and is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Rear Admiral Kenneth Duetsch, US Navy (Ret.), will be the guest speaker. The ceremony will include a presentation on American Military Cemeteries found around the world providing a final resting place for our soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who died defending freedom overseas. Lee Rubenstein, Post 404 Commander, will be the Master of Ceremony (MC).
American Legion Post 404 is the only veteran’s organization on Marco Island serving veterans and their families. Post 404 meets the third Thursday of every month at 11 a.m., from October to May at the Lutheran Church, 525 N. Collier Blvd., Marco Island. All who have served on federal active duty in the United States Armed Forces since Dec. 7, 1941 and have been honorably discharged or are still serving are eligible for membership in The American Legion. Contact John Apolzan at 307-432-7055 if you are interested in becoming a member. – Lee Rubenstein/Special to the Eagle
Louisville Slugger Warriors baseball game
The nationally sponsored amputee baseball team plays a double header against the SWFL Naples All-Star Team.
The Louisville Slugger Warriors are a nonprofit, competitive team consisting of amputee players, including military veterans, active-duty personnel and current and former college baseball players. They’re coached by former Major League Baseball players, including Naples resident John Kruk. Games start at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28.
Event is free and at Fleischmann Park, 1600 Fleischmann Blvd., Naples. Information: 802-777-7232 or lswarriorsteam.org.
Hodges Funeral Home
The Collier County Veterans Council sponsors this event featuring a 21-gun salute, a reading of the names of the dead, the Collier County Sheriff's Office color guard, several speakers, a cookout and more.
The keynote speaker will be retired Brig. Gen. Ed Brandt of the U.S. Army National Guard. 10 a.m. Monday, May 30. Free.
Attendees should bring their own seating. Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Garden, 525 111th Ave., Naples.
Information: 597-3101 or facebook.com/HodgesFuneralHomeNaples.
Memorial Day Ceremony
The annual service is organized by the City of Bonita Springs and its Veterans Advisory Committee. It includes the posting of the colors, a 21-gun salute, the laying of wreaths and more.
Guest speaker David Grossi of Bonita Springs enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1966 and joined the newly created Ranger program in 1967. He completed his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1969. His medals and citations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, the New York State Medal for Merit and the Florida Veterans Service Medal.
Event is 9 a.m. Monday, May 30, free, at Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs.
Information: 949-6262. – Charles Runnells/Staff