Poland Memorial Day celebration subdued, significant

Poland parade

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Memorial Day is celebrated a little differently in Poland.

The holiday celebration is a little more subdued and calmer than most area celebrations. Organizers said that is just the way they like it, to pay tribute to fallen soldiers.

“We treat our parade as more of a memorial procession. We are not here to throw candy. We are not here to hear speeches from the local politicians. What we are here to do is honor the people who have gone before us and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Jeff Vrabel, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, said.

Monday morning began with a tribute to the Four Chaplains, who gave their lives on a troop ship as it was torpedoed in World War II. The Four Chaplains were Rabbi Alexander Goode, a native of York, Pa.; Rev. George L. Fox, a decorated World War I veteran and a Methodist minister in Gilman, Vt.; Rev. Clark V. Poling, a minister in the Reformed Church in Schenectady, N.Y.; and Father John P. Washington, a Catholic priest from Kearney, N.J.

“They took their life vests off. They gave them to four other people on the boat so they could survive. The Four Chaplains ended up drowning in the torpedoing. So they didn’t survive. This is just the way that we honor them and thank them,” Vrabel said.

Then came the 43rd annual parade featuring classic cars, the Poland Seminary High School band and people lining the streets to watch the procession.

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