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:
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.
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
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” 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
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.
Download a coloring page of the USS Silversides here https://bit.ly/ActivityPageVM
Address: 1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI 49441
”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
Memorial Day Events to Attend:
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