This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 29, and the villages of Wellington and Royal Palm Beach will host observances that morning to honor the nation’s fallen heroes.
Royal Palm Beach’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at 9 a.m. at Veterans Park on Royal Palm Beach Blvd.
According to Program Supervisor Carlos Morales, two veterans will speak at the event. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Cuthbert, who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, will be one of the speakers. He will be joined by Sgt. Maj. Keith Anderson of the U.S. Army National Guard, with the 254th Transportation Battalion of West Palm Beach, who served during Operation Desert Shield, among other operations.
“These military veterans will be speaking about what Memorial Day means to them and what message they want to get out to the public, such as how people can get involved in veterans and memorial programs,” Morales said.
The Royal Palm Beach High School advanced chorus will sing the national anthem, and local religious groups will be there to participate. There will also be a task performance along with a gun salute.
“I think this is a great way to give a tribute back to our local participants of the event,” Morales said.
The Royal Palm Beach Community Band will be at the event to perform both before and after.
“The one thing I always look forward to is we have the local fire station involved,” Morales said. “They always bring out a ladder truck, and they hang a huge American flag. While the whole ceremony is going on, it’s basically like a reflection. You look at the huge flag — it’s overwhelming, flapping in the wind — and that is something that sticks out to me. The whole moment when you’re thinking about what Memorial Day really means.”
Once again, American Legion Post 367 has partnered with Royal Palm Beach to help commemorate the day.
“We’re working with the American Legion to do what we call a battle cross presentation,” Morales explained. “We’re going to do an entire mock-up of the boots on the ground, the rifle and the boots, and then a flag folding demonstration — an entire flag folding demonstration to detail military order.”
That section of the ceremony will end with Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. “That’s really a touching moment because you can kind of see what those families go through,” Morales said.
Aside from village officials, State Rep. Matt Willhite (D-District 86) will also be speaking at the ceremony. Other groups taking part include Boy Scout Troop 111 and Cub Scout Pack 120; the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office color guard, honor guard and rifle team; and the ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary Group Unit 367.
“All these organizations, these nonprofits, these volunteers in the community, really are the backbone of these events, and without them, we wouldn’t be able to put on the quality event that we do,” Morales said.
The Vietnam helicopter group Project 425 will also be present. There will be military helicopters on display during the event. People who attend will have a chance to take pictures in front of the military vehicles.
For more information about the Royal Palm Beach Memorial Day observance, call (561) 790-5149.
The Village of Wellington’s Memorial Day events will be held in partnership with American Legion Chris Reyka Memorial Wellington Post 390. Post Commander Alan Ziker will do the introductions for the guest speaker, Michael Hall, a retired U.S. Navy Seal.
The invocation will be given by Pastor Frank Toral of Promise Life Chapel. The national anthem will be sung by 2017 Wellington Idol winner Chelsea Hellman.
The day begins with a parade at 8:15 a.m., and the ceremony will follow immediately after at 8:30 a.m. The ceremony is about an hour long.
The parade will begin at the Wellington Municipal Complex and end at the Wellington Veterans Memorial, located at the corner of South Shore and Forest Hill boulevards. That will be the site of the ceremony.
“We think it’s a very important event, to honor those fallen soldiers and the families they’ve left behind, or that they’ve come back to that waited for many years, depending on how long their service was,” Community Programs Manager Michelle Garvey said. “We just feel it’s a small thing we can do.”
After the main activities and speeches are completed, a photo of all of the veterans in attendance will be taken at the service to commemorate the day.
“It’s a way to bring everyone together for a short period of time during the ceremony,” she said. “It gives them an opportunity to maybe meet others, whether it be widows or fellow service members. It gives them a chance for a little camaraderie to reconnect.”
Garvey has been involved as a main organizer of the event since 2010.
“Most of the time it’s afterward when you see the pictures that were taken during the event,” Garvey said. “When you see the soldiers kneeling down and touching names and having that connection, whether it be a friend or a family member or even just the branch of service, I think that has a powerful impact on me personally, and the community.”
Local scout troops are invited every year to attend and be a part of the day’s events. The PBSO honor guard and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue will also be in attendance.
Local veterans will be recognized at the ceremony. To learn more, or to add a name to the recognition list, call Garvey at (561) 791-4082.
These ceremonies continue to be part of both villages every year in order to remember those who have served, and to pay tribute to fallen military heroes and the families who lost loved ones while they fought to maintain the liberties we cherish as Americans.