Parades and services marked the commemoration of Memorial Day in the Riverbend on Monday. Alton held its 147th parade, while in Bethalto a parade was held for the 55th time. Each ended with services for the war dead in local cemeteries. A special sunset ceremony was held last night at the Alton National Cemetery for the 9th year in a row.
The events are all about tradition, and many families and friends use the events to reconnect while honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country. World War Two veteran, and former POW, Bob Ryan was the Alton parade grand marshal, and thousands of people lined the streets of Upper Alton for the event. Small American flags and plenty of candy were handed out during the parade that lasted about an hour and ended with a service at the Upper Alton Cemetery where the Avenue of Flags was on display. Last evening, the day ended with the Sunset Ceremony at the Alton National Cemetery on Pearl Street, believed to be the only such event to close out the day at any national cemetery in the country.