Full slate of events around WNY this Memorial Day weekend

Buffalo, N.Y. (WIVB) – For many people, this Memorial Day weekend will be filled with fun, family-friendly get-togethers and events. But there will also be solemn remembrances for the soldiers who’ve sacrificed it all.

The Buffalo Marathon returns this Memorial Day weekend, with a new course that will take runners through the waterfront and Delaware Park. In addition to the full and half-marathon, there’s also a new 5K event this year. The race begins at Chippewa and Franklin Streets at 7 AM Sunday.

Boaters will be returning to the water. And the Erie Basin Marina’s popular eatery, The Hatch, is back open for business. Under the new management of Acqua restaurant, The Hatch will now feature a full bar serving craft beer and cocktails, in addition to burgers, dogs and sandwiches.

Daredevil Nik Wallenda is planning a special stunt at Darien Lake Theme Park in Genesee County this weekend. He begins daily performances there June 23rd.

While the holiday weekend is a time of fun and family for a lot of people, others will be marking Memorial Day solemnly, remembering the soldiers who gave their lives in service to the United States.

At 10:30 Sunday morning, the Sons and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War will hold a ceremony in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Each of these men and women can trace their ancestry back to a Civil War soldier, 5,000 of whom are buried in Forest Lawn.

Following poetry and patriotic songs, “We’ll have a rifle salute. The Color Guard is going to be a combination of the 155th New York volunteer re-enactors, and New York Engineers,” says William R. Parker, Commander of the Chaplain P.G. Cook arm of the Sons of Union Veterans.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Complete listing of Memorial Day events

Military roots run deep in William Parker’s family, dating back to his great-great-grandfather. Parker served in the Marine Corps. He says we need to not lose sight of Memorial Day’s real meaning.

“A lot of men never got to come home and start families and have anybody,” he paused here, stifling tears, “…to remember them. And, that’s why other people should probably take a walk around, look at the names, and find out what happened to these men.”

More events are planned at Forest Lawn on Memorial Day, Monday.

Flags will be placed on the graves of all veterans buried in the Field of Valor and the Veterans sections of the cemetery beginning at 8:30 AM.

Members of the Erie County American Legion will hold a ceremony in front of the American Legion Memorial Monument, which is located near the cemetery’s Main Street gate. The event is free and open to the public; all are welcome.

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