Outdoor Sites to Visit Memorial Weekend
The COVID19 pandemic has shuttered our museums for indoor tours, but Muskegon County is rich with history, remembrance and pride. There are numerous outdoor sites to visit as we honor Memorial Day.
Muskegon’s outdoor memorial sites to visit:
Civil War Monuments in Hackley Park
Statue of General Philip Kearny, corner of Peck and Terrace
”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
Vietnam War Memorial “Final Approach” Hidden Cove Park, City of Norton Shores
While the museum is not open for tours, visitors can still bike or walk along the Lakeshore Trail, or park at the Mart Dock, to look at the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” sculpture and marvel at the USS LST 393 Veterans Museum ship.
She is 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.
A recent addition to her grounds was the dedication of the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” sculpture in honor of Muskegon native, and inspiration for the Andrew Sisters song, World War II bugler Clarence Zylman.
Again, tours of the USS Silversides are on hold. But if you walk along the Muskegon Channel, your journey will take you right alongside this 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.
Also docked at the museum site are the Laurentian and the US Coast Guard Cutter McLane.
Virtual Memorial Day Events to Attend:
Online: 33rd Annual Lost Boat Ceremony: May 24, 11:00 am
USS Silversides Submarine Museum honors the men and women of the military through the Lost Boat Ceremony on the Sunday before Memorial Day. That will not change this year. What does have to change, though, is the way we present it. This year, we will be offering it only as an online virtual event. We will miss having all of you here with us, but you will still see and enjoy all aspects of the ceremony, just from the comfort of your home as we all do our part to stay safe and healthy while we honor our brave American heroes.
The 2020 Lost Boat Ceremony Virtual Ceremony will premier at 11:00 am on Sunday, May 24, 2020 on both the USS Silversides website (www.silversidesmuseum.org), their Facebook page and the Visit Muskegon live webcam: https://visitmuskegon.org/recreation/