Bird's Eye View

History, heritage and honor on Memorial Day in Portage

2013-05-22T00:00:00Z History, heritage and honor on Memorial Day in PortageRobin Wilkening Times Correspondent
May 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Memorial Day has always been an important day to me. It gives me a chance to reflect on all the sacrifices men and women have made for the people in our country all through the years. Some wars I agreed with, some I did not but I was always taught that no matter your opinion, soldiers, sailors and others deserved our respect for the job they do for us. For as we all know freedom has never been free and many have paid the price with life and limb for all of us since before our country’s birth and continue to do so.

In 1865, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, New York, mentioned that honor should be shown for the patriotic dead of the Civil War by decorating their graves. In the spring of the next year, he mentioned it to General John Murray and he embraced the idea and proceeded to honor the fallen soldiers on May 5, 1866 as Decoration Day. At each cemetery there were impressive and lengthy services, including all that wanted to attend, by General Murray and a local clergyman.

The first official observance of Memorial Day was on May 5, 1868, two years after the original ceremony at Waterloo. However, that year they chose to observe it on May 30.

In 1965, a committee of community leaders sought to plan the Centennial Celebration of Memorial Day and to obtain national recognition of the fact that Waterloo was the birthplace of Memorial Day. Many painstaking hours of research went into the proof of the claim.

The Centennial Celebration brought dignitaries from government, military and veteran’s organizations. Memorial Day is commemorated each year in Waterloo with the same solemn observances as it was years ago.

There a couple of great activities going on in Portage this Memorial Day.

If you like to run, don’t forget about the RE/MAX Affiliates Trail Run Xtreme on Memorial Day morning at our own Imagination Glen Park. This run is different from any other as the runners are taken along the Outback Trails of Imagination Glen through creeks, log jumps, traversing hills, switchbacks and through the mud on rugged terrain. All proceeds for this race go to Gabriel’s Horn Homeless Shelter. It’s not too late to enter. For more information please check out their website at or you can register online at

As always, our own Portage American Legion Post 260 will be honoring our service men and women with a parade that will line up at the Portage Mall at 11 a.m. and commence at noon. The parade will travel west to Calvary Cemetery. There will be a Memorial Day service at the cemetery upon arrival and everyone is invited back to the Legion Post 260 on Mulberry for refreshments.

Thanks to all these fine men and women for their hard work and keeping patriotism alive in our great community. Have a safe Memorial Day everyone and God bless the U.S.A.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About Portage

City Hall
6070 W. Central Ave. Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-5425

Police Department
2693 Irving Street Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-3122

Fire Department
3401 Swanson Rd Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-7404

Portage Township Schools Administration Center
6240 U.S. Highway 6 Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-6511

Porter County Public Library
2665 Irving Street Portage, IN 46368
(219) 763-1508