The annual Mentor Memorial Day parade kicks off Monday morning at 9:30 a.m., giving residents an opportunity to honor those who have served and continue to serve our country.
Participating veterans groups and the Mentor High School band will gather at the parking lot of Heinen's and begin a solemn processional from Mentor Avenue, then north on Hopkins Road to the Mentor Municipal Cemetery. The event usually wraps up around 10:30 a.m.
"Just give honor and respect for the holiday," Mentor Recreation Superintendent Paul Hegreness said, encouraging residents to attend. "It's done in the morning, so really you have the rest of afternoon to do whatever you want."
Some people watch the parade on Mentor Avenue, while others elect to line up at the cemetery and wait for its arrival. The raising of the flag, pledge of allegiance and national anthem are among the first items on the agenda.
Special guests include State Rep. Ron Young, State Sen. John Eklund and keynote speaker Mark Hayden. An Army staff sergeant, Hayden is a Mentor resident who attended Riverside High School in Painesville.
Hayden enlisted in 1983 and served in Operation Desert Storm in 1990; Somalia in 1993; Bosnia in 1995; Iraq in 2003, 2005 and 2007; and Afghanistan in 2008. He announced his retirement in the last few years.
"Pretty much any conflicts we've had, he's been there," Hegreness said.
Participating veterans groups will dedicate wreaths before the event closes with a gun salute and renditions of "Taps" and "God Bless America.
Check out some photos from last year's event to get an idea of what to expect.