Here’s every Memorial Day event taking place in Portage County this year

Photo by Valentino Funghi


Aurora’s Memorial Day observances begin May 27-28, when American Legion Post 803 members and VFW Post 2629 members will distribute poppies from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the entrance to Veterans Memorial Park, 40 West Garfield Road. There is no cost, but donations are traditionally accepted. The poppies are the national flower of remembrance for all veterans dating back to World War I.

The city will mark Memorial Day starting at 10:15 a.m. May 30 with American Legion Post 803 leading a short service and wreath-laying ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park on State Route 82 in front of Barrington Town Square.

Veterans Memorial Chairman Harold Hatridge will deliver remarks, and American Legion auxiliary members Becky Sharp and Susan Kray will present wreaths.

At about 10:30 a.m., the American Legion and VFW will lead participants, including local scouts, veterans, safety forces, and the Aurora High School marching band, in a procession from Memorial Park to Aurora Cemetery on State Route 43. All veterans are welcome to participate.

VFW Post 2629 will hold a service at 11 a.m. The Aurora High School band will present the national anthem and perform taps. An honor guard composed of VFW and American Legion members will present a 21-gun salute. Aurora Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin will speak, and U.S. Coast Guard Commander Greg Batchelder will deliver the keynote address.


Kent American Legion Post 496 will sponsor the city’s May 30 Memorial Day parade. 

Participants will line up on East Main Street between Depeyster Street and Willow Street at 9 a.m. in preparation for a 10 a.m. step off. There will be a brief service on the Main Street bridge, with American Legion Commander Rodger Wiant and Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala offering comments. The Kent Roosevelt marching band will present the national anthem, and American Legion Post 496’s Honor Guard will fire off a three-round volley.

Participants will then proceed to Standing Rock Cemetery, where the American Legion will conduct a Post Everlasting Ceremony, offer taps and another three-round volley. Howard Boyle will be honored with firing the cannon.

Following the parade, participants are welcome to enjoy food and refreshments at the American Legion, 1945 Mogadore Road.


Ravenna’s Memorial Day observance will start at 10:30 a.m. May 30, when a combined Honor Guard of American Legion Post 331 and VFW Post 1055 will present a 21-gun salute and taps on the courthouse lawn.

Participants will proceed to Maple Grove Cemetery, where both posts will take part in a short memorial service.

The Rev. Ron Murphy will offer an invocation, and VFW Post 1055’s Chesty Puller Young Marines will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem. Mayor Frank Seman will read a proclamation honoring veterans and patriotic citizens. Representatives from the Chesty Puller Young Marines will recite the Gettysburg Address from memory along with “Flanders Fields,” a poem memorializing WWI soldiers.

Girl Scout Troop 915 will honor all deceased veterans, laying flowers at the base of a veterans memorial. The VFW and American Legion auxiliary units will then perform a bridging ceremony, lowering the flags and dropping flowers into the pond to further memorialize those who have been killed in action.

Both posts will then perform a second 21-gun salute and taps. The ceremony will end with the Rev. Ron Murphy offering a final benediction.

Both events are open to the public. 


On May 28, members of American Legion Post 685 and VFW Post 9716 will meet at 9 a.m. at Evergreen Cemetery to place flags on veterans’ graves.

On May 29, the posts will participate in a Round Robin starting at 9 a.m. at the American Legion post, 10001 Aurora-Hudson Road, for a service and roll call of deceased veterans.

Participants will proceed to VFW Post 9716, located at 9435 State Route 43, for a second service and roll call.

Participants will then proceed to Evergreen Cemetery for a service and then to Woodside Lake Park, 2486 Frost Road, for a service honoring the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy. The national anthem will be played and the flag briefly lowered to half-staff.

Boy Scout Troop 280 will be on hand to support the participants throughout the Round Robin events. Taps and a 21-gun salute will be held at each location.

The Streetsboro Eagles Memorial Day Baseball Classic will be held May 27-30 at City Park, 8970 Kirby Lane. Team members will be ages 8 to 13. The public is welcome to cheer on participants.


Garrettsville will mark Memorial Day May 30 with a 9 a.m. service at the Veterans Memorial on Maple Avenue. A half-hour service will be held, with Mayor Rick Patrick and Carlson Funeral Home owner Dr. Mike Carlson offering remarks. Pastor David Gray of Garrettsville Baptist Church will lead a prayer and offer benediction, and the James A. Garfield High School band will perform the national anthem and taps. 

Parade participants will proceed to Park Cemetery on Center Street, where another service will be held, and memorial wreaths will be presented. Speakers will be retired teacher Iva Walker, military veteran John Kable, Mayor Rick Patrick, Dr. Carlson and Pastor Gray.

Village of Hiram

Hiram Village will mark Memorial Day May 30 with a parade that steps off at noon from the Hiram Christian Church parking lot, located at the intersection of State Route 700 and State Route 82. The parade will end at Fairview Cemetery, located at State Route 82 and Ryder Road, where there will be a Memorial Ceremony.

Crestwood’s marching band will participate, and there will be a roll call of veterans who are buried in the cemetery. After the parade, everyone is invited to Koritansky Hall at State Route 700 and State Route 305 for a reception with light refreshments.

Village of Mantua

The Village of Mantua and American Legion Post 193 will host a parade and ceremony starting at 9:30 a.m. May 30 at the Old Village School on Main Street and proceeding to Hillside Cemetery on Prospect Street. The American Legion will present some readings.

On May 31, the village will host a KIA (Killed In Action) Dedication at 1 p.m. at Hillside Cemetery. The ceremony will take place at Veterans Circle, where a headstone donated by Mantua Village residents and family members of five Mantua Village service personnel who were killed in action has been placed.

U.S. military veteran Victor Coreliussen will present KIA flags and plaques to families of U.S. military personnel who were killed in action. Mayor Linda Clark will speak, and Pastor Daniel Esala of Christ Lutheran Church will offer benediction. American Legion Post 193 and VFW Post 1055 of Ravenna will be in attendance. The KIA Memorial is open to the public.

Village of Windham

The Village of Windham is pleased to join Windham Township in a joint observance of Memorial Day.


Atwater Township will mark Memorial Day at noon May 30 with a parade that will step off from Bank Street and Waterloo Road, travel east on Waterloo, and arrive at Atwater Town Hall/Atwater Cemetery. Grand marshal will be lifelong Atwater resident and U.S. Army veteran Michael Briggs. Also participating will be the Waterloo High School marching band, the Atwater Fire Department, and the Waterloo Youth Football team and cheerleaders.

The Rural Relief Mobile Food Pantry Bus will also be in the parade. Residents are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable goods or money to support the RRMFP’s mission.

Parade viewers will also enjoy seeing antique cars, horse-drawn carriages, tractors, trucks, and floats.

A 9/11 Memorial Wall will also be part of the parade and will be on display in front of Atwater Community Church afterward.

Three Waterloo High School seniors, all of them honors students and Atwater residents, will participate in the parade. Kelly Rache and Andrew Cash, selected by their teachers as parade royalty, will ride in a car along with student speaker Emma More. 

A memorial service will be held in front of Atwater Town Hall at the conclusion of the parade. Emma More will deliver remarks, and State Representative Gail Pavliga will also speak.

Flag raising, flag folding and laying of a memorial wreath will be performed by U.S. Army reservists Sgt. Andrew Williams and Specialist Jennifer Williams. Cub Scout Benjamin Moff of Pack 3233 will lead a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Master of ceremonies will be Pastor Rich Hall of Atwater Community Church.

The Waterloo marching band will perform taps and the national anthem. The ceremony will conclude with Pastor Paul Phillips of Liberty Bible Church leading the invocation and benediction.

Immediately following the service, Atwater Community Church will provide free hotdogs and beverages for the community.


Brimfield Township will mark Memorial Day May 30 with an 11 a.m. ceremony at Restland Cemetery, where Boy Scout Troop 259 and Cub Scout Troop 3259 will conduct a formal flag ceremony.

Pastor Dan Alexoff of First Freedom Baptist Church will offer remarks, and Pastors Don and Karen Upson of Faith United Methodist Church will offer the invocation and benediction. Trustee Sue Fields will read the names of recently deceased veterans. Nate Horvitz will present taps. 

Representatives from the Field High School choir will sing Amazing Grace and the national anthem. First Freedom Baptist Church’s choir will sing “God Bless America” and “Statue of Liberty.”


Charlestown Township will host its annual Memorial Day parade at 11 a.m. May 29, stepping off from Charlestown Township Park on Rock Spring Road and proceeding to Charlestown Cemetery on Newton Falls Road. Youth baseball teams and Cub Scouts will participate, and children are encouraged to decorate their bicycles in a patriotic theme as they ride along.

At the cemetery, Boy Scout Troop 558 will present the colors, and members of Ravenna VFW Post 1055 will provide an honor guard and a 21-gun salute. The speaker will be U.S. Marine veteran Micah Herndon, and Pastor Gregory Hogan of Charlestown Methodist Church will offer a prayer and benediction. 


Deerfield Township will mark Memorial Day May 30 with a parade that will step off at 9 a.m. from the Deerfield Fire Department, 9482 U.S. 224, with the sounding of the Township fire whistle.

Leading the parade in motorized chairs will be American Legion Post 713 members Roy Wilson, carrying the U.S. flag, and Lane Autry, bearing the Post flag. Legion members Don Copeland and Bob Aemmer will follow with rifles. Behind the Legion members will be the Southeast marching band, fire department volunteers, community members and an assortment of floats.

Participants will proceed to Deerfield Cemetery, 9865 U.S. 224, where American Legion Post 713 will lead a short ceremony beginning with Legion Chaplain Lane Autry offering an invocation.

Post Commander Ed Stockli will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening address. The Southeast marching band will play the national anthem and a selection of patriotic songs.

The Rev. Tim Muse of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Alliance will deliver a Memorial Day address, after which Legion member Pete Twark will memorialize all deceased veterans by placing a memorial wreath at the cemetery flagpole.

The firing squad of the Deerfield American Legion Post 713 will then offer a 21-gun salute, followed by the Southeast marching band playing taps, with one bugle echoing the other.

Commander Stockli will offer closing remarks, and the ceremony will close with Chaplain Autry delivering benediction.


Edinburg Township’s annual Memorial Day Parade will step off at 11 a.m. May 30 from Edinburg United Church of Christ on Rock Spring Road. Participants will proceed along Tallmadge Road, turn right onto State Route 14 and arrive at Edinburg Cemetery on State Route 14, just past I-76.

The parade will feature floats, old and antique cars, Boy Scout troops, youth baseball teams, church groups, the Southeast Swing Choir, and the Southeast High School band.

Judges will be positioned at Edinburg’s town center, preparing to bestow awards on the best floats in an array of categories.

Grand marshal will be U.S. Marine veteran Micah Herndon.

There will be a memorial service at the cemetery, where the Southeast High School marching band will offer a selection of songs. Local scouts will conduct the presentation of colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Micah Herndon will act as guest speaker, the Rev. Timothy Paroz (also a U.S. military veteran) of the Edinburg United Church of Christ will offer a prayer and benediction, and an honor guard from Deerfield American Legion Post 713 will present a 21-gun salute. The Southeast Swing Choir will also be present, singing the national anthem.

Franklin (no plans)


The Freedom Township parks committee and road crew are busy planting flowers by township buildings and at Freedom West Cemetery and Drakesburg Cemetery. Trustees will place flags around Freedom Township square, where state routes 303, 88 and 700 converge.

Hiram Township

The Hiram Township trustees will join the Village of Hiram as they mark Memorial Day. Look for the trustees as they participate in the village parade.

Mantua Township 

The Crestwood marching band and American Legion Post 193 will perform a short ceremony at 11 a.m. May 30 at Westlawn Cemetery on State Route 82. Members of the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department will also be in attendance. The ceremony is open to the public.


Nelson Township will observe Memorial Day with a 10 a.m. service May 30 at the historic veterans memorial at Nelson Circle. Speaker will be Navy Reserve veteran Mike Cooper, who served on the USS Orleck DD-886, providing shore support in Vietnam. The service will also feature an honor guard from Windham’s American Legion Post 674 presenting a 21-gun salute. Boy Scout Troop 65 will conduct a formal flag raising. The event is open to the public.

Palmyra Township (no plans)


Paris Township will hold a Memorial Day service at 1 p.m. May 29 at Hawley Cemetery on McClintocksburg Road. The Rev. Tom Holbrook will offer a prayer and benediction. An honor guard from Newton Falls VFW Post 3332 will present the colors and a 21 gun salute. The Suzellas family will attend and offer a selection of songs. Township resident Ed Harrison, attired in full Scottish regalia, will play “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, and township residents Jeff and April Markov will present taps on trumpet.

Ravenna Township

On May 26, Ravenna Township trustees will assist Ravenna VFW Post 1055’s Young Marines as they place flags at veterans’ graves at Grandview Cemetery.


After a two-year Covid hiatus, the Randolph Fire Department will host its annual Memorial Day pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon May 30 at the Randolph fire station (1639 State Route 44), with the Randolph Lions Memorial Day parade kicking off at 10 a.m. (line-up is at 9 a.m.).

The pancake breakfast is RFD’s biggest fundraiser of the year, supporting equipment purchases and a much-needed pickup truck as well as helping to fund the fire department’s new ambulance, Trustee Nick Reynolds said.

Pancakes, sausage, eggs and beverages will be served. Cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.

The Lions Club will be selling raffle tickets during the breakfast. Two winners will receive a Trex bench, and one winner will receive a lottery board. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5. Winners need not be present to win.

The Randolph Lions Club Memorial Day parade will step off from Moyer Fields, 3636 Waterloo Road, and proceed to Old School Park, 1776 State Route 44. Grand marshal will be Diane Bunker, RFD’s recently retired assistant fire chief. A ceremony at Randolph Town Hall at 1639 State Route 44 will follow, featuring a roll call of service members who were killed in action.

The Waterloo marching band will participate in the parade, performing the national anthem and taps at the beginning of the parade and at Randolph Town Hall.

Waterloo High School sophomore Grace Yarian will read her essay, “Land of the Free.” Yarian’s essay topped three submissions the Randolph Lions Club judged at a May 17 meeting.

Waterloo High School students Nassim Marhari and Haley Nehlsen, voted prince and princess by their teachers on the basis of leadership, community service and grades, will also be acknowledged at the ceremony.


Back from a two-year Covid hiatus, Rootstown Township’s annual Memorial Day parade is ready for a return May 30.

Led by the Rootstown Catholic War Veterans color guard from St. Peter of the Fields Church, the parade will step off from Loretta Drive at 10 a.m. and head to Homeland Cemetery on Tallmadge Road.

At the cemetery, Cub Scout Pack 3556 will conduct a formal flag raising as the Rootstown marching band performs the national anthem. Trustee Joe Paulus will read “A Debt That Cannot Be Repaid,” a commentary penned by former Navy Seal Andy Stumpf after he heard about a comrade who had fallen in combat.

The Rootstown Lions Club will present the township’s Citizen of the Year, chosen for his or her positive impact on the Rootstown community. The honoree will serve as grand marshal of the parade.

Topping the day’s events will be a military flyover at approximately 11:15 a.m. by the 112th Fighter Squadron of the 180th Fighter Wing, stationed at the Toledo Air National Guard base.

To conclude the ceremony, the color guard will carry the flag and present a 21-gun salute, and a member of the Rootstown marching band will perform taps.


Shalersville Township Trustees will host a Memorial Day parade, which will step off at 10 a.m. May 28 from Mary Ellen Road and proceed east on State Route 303 to Riverside Cemetery. The Crestwood marching band will participate. Bicyclists are welcome to decorate their bikes and ride in the parade. The event will include a bike-decorating contest, with winners chosen at the conclusion of the parade.

A memorial service will be held at the cemetery, where the marching band will perform several selections, including taps. American Legion Post 193 will also participate in the parade and service and will offer a 21-gun salute at Riverside Cemetery.


Suffield Township’s Memorial Day parade will kick off at 10 a.m. May 30 from the corner of Waterloo and Congress Lake roads. The Field Royal Guardsmen marching band, fire trucks, antique and hot-rod cars, sports teams, dance groups, politicians, school organizations and military units will participate. Blue Moon Dogs and Suffield Station will also perform in the parade, which parade co-chair Terry Ginn says is among the largest in the county.

Grand marshal is Bob Dudley, who has served the Suffield Township Fire Department for 50 years.

Approximately 15 minutes after the parade ends, there will be a memorial ceremony at Suffield Elementary School. Taps will be played, and a formal flag-raising ceremony will be conducted. State Representative Gail Pavliga will speak, and the ceremony will also include a formal wreath laying. Our Lady of the Lourdes Post 1325 from St. Joseph Church in Randolph will supply a color guard, which will present arms. A prayer will be offered, and the ceremony will conclude with the singing of the national anthem.

Anyone who wishes to join the parade can just show up at 9 a.m. at the corner of Catherine and Waterloo roads. Decorated bicycles, classic cars, motorcycles and even belly-dancing groups are welcome to join.

Windham Township

American Legion Post 674 will host a parade and memorial service May 30, starting at noon at North Main and Center streets in Windham Village and proceeding to Windham Township Cemetery on Windham-Parkman Road, where each ceremony will be held.

Parade participants will include the Windham High School marching band, the Windham Fire Department, youth baseball league members and the American Legion. Anyone else who wishes to join is welcome.

Carl Pace, son of American Legion Commander James Pace, will speak, and American Legion Chaplain Father James Lang will offer opening and closing prayers at the ceremony. American Legion members will offer a 21-gun salute, and the band will present the national anthem and taps.

Portage County Sheriff’s Office

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office will host Military Appreciation Day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 31 at 8240 Infirmary Road, Ravenna. Coffee and donuts will be served as well as a hot dog lunch. The event will include a K9 visit from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. CCW registration and renewals will be offered free to military personnel with proper ID and paperwork.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.