The stories of local men and women who fought in wars from the Civil War to the Vietnam War will be featured during a walk on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Marquette.
Armed Forces Day was created in 1949 by the U.S. Department of Defense to honor the unification of all military forces under one government department. The day serves to acknowledge Americans serving in the five branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.
History Center guides will tell the stories of about a dozen men and women who served their country during times of conflict, some who died in battle and some who returned to Marquette after their service.
Marquette resident Thomas Beaudry was a member of the 34th Michigan Regiment, Company L, serving his country during the Spanish American War. (Marquette Regional History Center photo)
Among the stories to be told is that of Marquette's first casualty of the Spanish-American War, Peter Vandenboom.
Vandenboom was a member of the U.S. Army fighting in Cuba following the start of the conflict with Spain. He was a Marquette native born to Dutch immigrants Henry and Hannah Vandenboom, who operated the largest dairy in Marquette County near Whetstone Creek in Marquette Township.
Vandenboom joined in the patriotic fervor and enlisted with 83 other men from the Upper Peninsula, enlisting in the Michigan 34th Regiment, Company L. Like many men who died during that conflict, Vandenboom wasn't killed in battle. Instead, he died after contracting malaria while on the island.
Aside from Vandenboom, the cemetery walk will also feature the stories of a woman who died while serving in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in World War II, as well as the tale of brothers who fought on opposite sides of the Civil War.
The program will feature some military music and "Taps" will be played at the grave of a Vietnam War soldier,
The walk will begin at 1 p.m. at the main gate of Holy Cross Cemetery on Wright Street.
There's a suggested donation of $5.
For more information, call the Marquette Regional History Center at 226-3571.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Koski is president of the Marquette Regional History Center Board of Trustees.