A Veteran on Memorial Day



2014 Memorial Day Parade

Eve Gross

Every year at the end of May, the streets of Downtown Sylvania fills with people as they get ready to watch the parade. The Memorial Day parade is a way for Sylvania to come together and celebrate veterans. Although, the parade and other festivities, such as going away for a trip on that weekend, may shade the real meaning of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day used to be known as Declaration Day. Officially, it became a federal holiday in 1971. The idea originally came from the idea of honoring those who we lost in the Civil War. After World War I, the holiday was even more celebrated and was moved from the the last Monday of every month (around the same time is was declared a federal holiday). Flags are placed on every fallen soldier’s grave.

Memorial Day may just be another day off school for other high school kids, but not for one Northview sophomore, Olivia Holmer. Holmer’s grandfather, Gerald E. Manning, is from Irving, New York and was drafted into the Army in October of 1952. Manning started off serving as a machine gunner. In June of 1953, he and others from his unit were wounded on night patrol by hand grenades. The backup units were unable to find him after the attack. But, the next morning they were found by another group from their unit and were sent to first aid, and then proceeded to be evacuated to a hospital. There, shrapnel was removed from many parts of Manning’s body, including his right arm, legs, and head. After this, he was appointed to Third Platoon Sergeant and left to fight in the Korean War.

Upon arriving in Korea, Manning saw the devastation of destroyed villages. During his time in Korea, he was wounded again. For his service, Manning received the Purple Heart Award. Manning stands as Third Platoon Sergeant, but will soon be named Grand Marshall this upcoming Memorial Day, May 27, 2019.

“This honor means the world to me. He fought for his country and the safety of our people and I’m so grateful to have an amazing veteran as my grandfather,” Holmer said.

Memorial Day is more than just a day off school, it is a day to celebrate and mourn those who have served our country and those we have lost.