Swanton held its annual Memorial Day observance last Monday with a parade, ceremony and luncheon.
The theme this year was the 50th year anniversary of the Vietnam War. The grand marshal was Lt. Col. Robert Janes, 101st Airborne, 1st Air Cavalry, helicopter pilot.
The parade started at Swanton Elementary School on Crestwood Drive and included American Legion members, Boy Scouts, the Swanton High School band and the grand marshal among the entries. It headed west on Church Street, then south on Main Street before ending at Memorial Park.
At the dough boy statue, the ceremony commenced with Lt. Col. Janes the featured speaker. He spoke of his service, including his time in Vietnam.
A helicopter pilot, Janes had over 1,000 combat hours, was shot down once, and lost an engine once. “My crew and myself, never got a scratch.”
He also talked about the effort needed to get a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery to Vietnam War helicopter pilots and crew who died in service. It took the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association five years to finally secure approval for the memorial, which was dedicated on April 18.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was observed to honor Civil War soldiers who died while serving. Over the years it grew to include other soldiers who have died in service and officially became known as Memorial Day.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise