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Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

In 2018 the insurance company Insurify analyzed over 900,00 insurance applications looking for any individuals named on the policy who were active or former service members. The resulting data was analyzed to determine the percentage of local residents in each state, then the top-ranking city in each state was identified. Muskegon County was recognized as having the highest number of active and former service members in the state of Michigan, and we thank them. However…ALL deserve to be saluted for their contributions to the national defense.

This Memorial Day, we invite you to visit one of Muskegon County’s many Military Museums or Memorial sites:

  

Civil War Monuments in Hackley Park:

General Ulysses S. Grant by Artist J. Massey Rhind, William Tecumseh Sherman also by J. Massey Rhind and David Farragut by Artist Charles Niehaus

Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Hackley Park

  

“Not conquest but peace and a united people. To the soldiers and sailors who fought, and to all patriotic men and women who helped to preserve our nation in the War of the Rebellion.”
Standing guard in the center of Hackley Park is the Sailors and Soldiers Monument. Beautiful, bronze “Victory” graces a cylinder of granite that reaches 75 feet to the sky. Around the base, four statues represent Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry, & Navy. It was created by sculptor Joseph Carabelli and gifted to the city by Charles Hackley on May 30, 1892.
Address: 350 W Webster Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

A small park is tucked away where Peck and Terrace St converge. This pie shaped park contains a statue of Philip Kearny Jr. and recently restored fountain. Read more about it’s history and General Kearny here

USS LST 393 

An LST-1-class tank landing ship originally launched in 1942 and one of only two LSTs to survive in their original configuration. During her service she won battle stars for the Sicilian occupation, Salerno landings, and the Invasion of Normandy. The LST 393 made 75 voyages to foreign shores and was one of the only LSTs to be equipped with an airplane.

During the 1950’s she found a new name, the MV Highway 16, and career shipping new automobiles across the Great Lakes.

In the 2000’s the USS LST 393 was restored by committed veterans, their families and supporters, into a veterans museum boasting thousands of artifacts.

Address: 560 Mart St, Muskegon, MI 49440

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” sculpture, located at USS LST 393 Veterans Museum

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by sculptor Ari Norris is located near the bow of the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum. The statue represents Muskegon-born Clarence Zylman, the famed Boogie Woogie Bugler of World War II and topic of the famous The Andrews Sisters song, later re-recorded by Bette Midler.

Address: 560 Mart St, Muskegon, MI 49440

USS Silversides Submarine

Tour the historic Gato class (built for the US Navy launched between 1941–1943) submarine. During her service, she received 12 battle stars and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation for cumulative action over four patrols. She is credited with sinking 23 ships – the third-most of any allied World War II submarine! According to JANAC (Joint Army-Navy Assessment Committee) the USS Silversides has the most prolific combat record of any still extant American Submarine.

In her retirement, the Silversides found a home in Muskegon, where she is part of the USS Silverside Museum. Docked in the Muskegon channel, she floats behind the US Coast Guard Cutter McLane, also available to tour. A two story museum center, filled with historic naval and interactive exhibits, completes the setting.

A bit of a movie star, the Silversides was recently featured in an episode of “Hell Below” on the Smithsonian Channel, and was used for exterior scenes in the 2002 film “Below”.

Download a coloring page of the USS Silversides here 👉🏻 https://bit.ly/ActivityPageVM

Address: 1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI 49441

Photo: Tim Reilly

Veteran’s Memorial Park

”Veterans Memorial Park” in Muskegon was originally built in 1928 and formally dedicated on November 11, 1934 as “Muskegon County Memorial Park”. A “Living Memorial to the World War Dead” the historically significant park is located on 50 acres along the “West Michigan Pike”. The park contains a lagoon and small island which can be reached by 2 footbridges. There are several war memorials, a large fountain on the South end and a Vietnam Memorial to the North.

War Memorials include:

  • The Purple Heart Monument: Dedicated to wounded combat veterans during the 2008 Veterans Day ceremony
  • Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks: Dedicated to WWI soldiers who later became known as the American Polar Bears
  • Marker in Honor of VFW Post 446
  • Two Footbridges: Donated by The Muskegon Boiler Works and refurbished by the Muskegon North Side Lions
  • “Honor Roll” Marker: In tribute to those of Muskegon County who gave their lives in the Vietnam War
  • World War I M1906 4.7 Inch Field Guns
  • 32nd Division Obelisk: Dedicated in 1978
  • Veterans Memorial Trail Marker: Displaying branches of the military
  • Read More about the park HERE

Address: M.Causeway, Muskegon, MI 49445

Vietnam War Memorial “Final Approach” Hidden Cove Park, City of Norton Shores

Tucked inside Hidden Cove Park is the Vietnam War Memorial “Final Approach”. Rising above the park, surrounded by flags, benches and plaques is a UH-1D helicopter; a combat veteran of of the Vietnam War.
Tail number 958, her slogan was “God’s Little Helper”. The aircraft served from 1968-1970, assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Casper the Friendly Ghost was painted on her nose to indicate she flew with the Casper Aviation Platoon.
Muskegon-based Chapter 31 of the Vietnam Veterans of America helped place the chopper in the Vietnam War memorial, dedicated in Fall of 1997.
Prior to the dedication, in 1996, veteran Don Sholett of Sackets Harbor, NY visited Muskegon and the newly donated Huey (then located at the Muskegon County Airport). Sholett was a crewmember who served on the helicopter, and originally painted the name and figure of Casper the Friendly Ghost on the bird’s nose. During his visit, Don repainted her name and image of the friendly ghost on the nose of the Huey.
In 2009 a 24 x 32 foot pavilion was constructed at the park, again by Members of the Muskegon Area Chapter 31 of the Vietnam Veterans of America and volunteers from local unions.
Address: 3941 Grand Haven Rd, Norton Shores, MI 49441

Memorial Day Events to Attend:

American Flag flying on deck of USS LST

Memorial Day Ceremony on the USS LST 393

A Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Monday, 5/31/21, at 10:00 am in the parking lot adjacent to the USS LST 393 at 560 Mart Street. The Mona Shores Marching Band, under the direction of Jason Boyden and Justin Sarns, will be performing at the ceremony.

Attendees will be able to tour this historic WWII ship at “No Charge” from 10:00 am until 5:00 PM.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
~ John F. Kennedy