LIMA — Crowds gathered in the sweltering heat Monday in downtown Lima to celebrate Memorial Day and those military men and women who have fallen in service to the United States.
Even at 10 a.m. when the first people arrived on Main Street, those that lined the street sought any shade they could find to weather the day, and it only got worse as temperatures continued to climb.
The heat, however, didn’t prevent Lima from showing its patriotic spirit. Ensemblages of red, white and blue tended to be common uniforms for most of the crowd — mostly kids equipped with plastic bags for candy and adults settled on the sidewalk or in their cars with the AC cranked high.
Nicole Vetter, of Shawnee Township, brought her family to the parade. This year was her first Memorial Day celebration she was able to attend with her husband Rob and two daughters, Alayna and Aja.
“I always had to work,” she said. “They were very excited that Mom got to come.”
Six-year-old Aja had come to watch the Elida High School Marching Band and to enjoy the music and dancing, she said. Her favorite piece from the band is “The Bulldog Song,” she said.
Her older sister, 7-year-old (almost 8) Alayna, looked forward to the fighter jet flyover. A little after 10 a.m., two jets flew over the crowd, silencing the children for a brief second, before rocketing off to the south.
Sisters Riley and Reagan Balmer said they hadn’t seen a lot of parades from the crowd’s perspective. Reagan, 9, was used to being in the parade as she would often ride in her dad’s company truck throwing out candy. Her tip for those who were throwing candy for the Memorial Day Parade? Aim for people’s bags.
“One time, I was in the side truck, and this one kid had his bag open. And I made it,” she said.
Her sister, Riley, 6, came because she was interested in float designs.
Their mother, Jennifer, briefly chimed in to ask them what the Memorial Day parade was about, and Reagan was able to provide the answer.
“For the people who died serving the country. Like in the Marines and Navy.”
Lima wasn’t the only city to have a Memorial Day parade. Other towns in the region that held parades or ceremonies this Memorial Day include Ada, Alger, Bluffton, Celina, Cloverdale, Continental, Delphos, Fort Jennings, Gilboa, Harrod, Kalida, Lafayette, Leipsic, McComb, Ottawa, St. Marys and Waynesfield.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.