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Changes on way for Memorial Day march

May 12, 2010 - This Memorial Day, American Legion Post 63 will honor Clarkston's fallen heroes by reading the names of more than 800 veterans laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery.

It will be the last time, said Barney Schoenfeld, post commander.

"After careful consideration, it was decided that we will now honor all our veterans in a more inclusive memorial program and not just limit our acknowledgment to naming just those who are interred in Lakeview," Schoenfeld said.

Many local veterans are missing in action, or buried overseas or in other local cemeteries, such as the new Great Lakes National Cemetery.

"Many of our local veterans are not being buried here in Lakeview," he said. "All of our local and national veterans are equally deserving of being remembered as a group without making any veterans memory more sacred than the rest."

The reading of Lakeview Cemetery veterans, some of whom fought in the Revolutionary War, was a way to honor local veterans, but the community has changed, he said.

"Over the years, our veteran community has grown from just the Village of Clarkston to now include Independence Township and other surrounding areas," he said. "As the populace has grown and demographics and social patterns have changed, families have become more scattered."

They hope the change enhances the Memorial Day program in the future, he said.

"All of America's veterans and current members of the military equally deserve our more sincere and heartfelt thanks for their service to this great country of ours," he said. "This is a day of memory for those departed veterans, a day to honor them."

Parade participants include Campbell Richmond Post 63 Color Guard, Sons of the American Legion, Ladies Auxiliary, Civil War honor guard, and Clarkston High School band. Marchers gather at Church and Buffalo streets at 10 a.m., May 31, parade west on Church across Main Street in downtown Clarkston, down Depot Road to White Lake Road, and arrive at Lakeview Cemetery at about 10:30 a.m.

In addition to reading the names, veterans in attendance receive a handshake and medal during the hour-long ceremony, Schoenfeld said.

"We want to bring more of the community into the program," he said. "We have a good turnout, we're thankful for that."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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