An enhanced Memorial Day Service will be held from 11 a.m. to noon at St. Francis Cemetery in Merrill on Monday, May 28. The Merrill City Band will begin playing selections about 10:30 a.m.
Prior to the main Memorial Day program, a Christian Mass service will be held from 9-9:45 a.m. on the grounds. The public is encouraged to attend.
The main program will be centered on Merrill’s new Veterans Memorial. This solemn reflection area has gone from conception to reality in only one year due to vast community support, numerous local contributions and volunteer labor. This tribute features a terrace with over 1,000 individual pavers stones carved with the names of local veterans who served our country in war or peace. A WWI Cannon, Memorial Stone, flag poles, reflection bench, flower planters and “Battle Cross” statue will be unveiled at the program.
Master of ceremonies will be Michael VanLieshout. Featured speaker will be Colonel Paul Russell of the Wisconsin National Guard. Father Mike McLain of St Francis Church will conduct memorial prayers. Also participating (but not limited to) will be the Veterans of Foreign Wars Schmitt-Manecke-Donner Post 1638 and their Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Marathon Lincoln County (MAR-LIN) Post 10203, American Legion Edward Burns Post 46, Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, MID-WIS AMVETS Post 2000, American Legion Riders District 8, The Wisconsin National Guard, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 29, VFW Honor Guard, Merrill City Band plus Color Guard from Boy Scout Troops 503, 507 & 599. Any and all other patriotic organizations are invited to take part.
This year a Black Hawk Helicopter will be on display as well as other military and city vehicles. A fighter jet fly over is being considered but can’t be confirmed at this time. Also new this year will be a “Caisson” carrying a flag draped casket escorted in by the marching units. Patriotic biker groups will be making a dramatic entrance. Food is offered on the grounds with proceeds being donated to the Veterans Memorial fund.
Public attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for this hour-long program. Parking attendants will be in the cemetery to direct traffic at 10 a.m. No parking signs will be posted in certain areas. Note that public parking will be allowed in Whispering Pines Mobile Home Court as well as the business center parking lot. Handicapped parking will be provided.