Paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice

by Tia Began

The city of Brecksville’s Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony started with light but steady rain for the parade, but ended with the skies clearing just in time for the Call to Colors and Roll Call of Wars at the Brecksville Cemetery.

In between that time, there was fanfare and solemnity and cheers and salutes at the parade, but also a powerful flyover by two F-16 fighter jets, representing the United States Air Force. Those jets, flown by Capt. John Reddick and Lt. Steven Right of the 180th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, seared the sky overhead for a brief few seconds as everyone gathered at the cemetery. 

Once everyone assembled at the ceremony following the parade, Marianna Pizem led with the Pledge of Allegiance. Pizem is a BBHHS 2024 Graduate who will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy. Ohio’s Secretary of State, Frank LaRose gave a moving speech about the responsibilities of Memorial Day, among them invoking soldiers’ names, and also thanking a Gold Star Family to thank them for their part in supporting their soldier. He noted the symbolism of both the flag at half-staff in the morning, and then being raised at noon and the reasons behind that as we honor perished soldiers.

LaRose, an Army Special Forces Green Beret himself, said “the most honored guest this morning are the young Americans who are here with us.” He noted “how enthusiastically the youth in attendance said the pledge of allegiance and reminded the community that it is the responsibility of parents to pass along the trait of patriotism by enabling their children to take part in the many aspects of Memorial Day. That patriotism, he said, must be a feeling experienced, like the parade, the community, the flags, the flyovers, the music and other sounds.  ∞

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Marching Band helped chase away the rain.

There was no shortage of sweets being tossed from this year’s parade vehicles and the youngest attendees were thrilled. Photos by Tia Began.

Photo (main/above): The rain cleared up just in time for the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Brecksville Cemetery. Photo by Tia Began.