Memorial Day weekend events around West Michigan

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WEST MICHIGAN- Whether it's attending a parade, going to a local ceremony, or just inviting friends and family over for a backyard cookout, the meaning of the approaching holiday means an awful lot to a lot of people.

At the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, there will be a celebration at the Stryker Theater. U.S. Air Force Captain "Guy" Gruters will be the featured guest speaker. Gruters was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. His honors include more than 30 combat awards, 2 purple hearts and several other medals. Gruters will be speaking on the topics of leadership, teamwork and success. The event starts at 7 p.m. and is free to attend.

In Grand Haven, the 10th annual V-F-W Ribfest Kicks off this afternoon and runs through tomorrow night. There is no cover charge for the popular event, which begins at 3 p.m. on North First Street. Expect lots of excellent barbecue, live music and beverages.

Also in Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University will be marking the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam war tomorrow. There's a ceremony at 2 p.m. officials install a new plaque that has the names of 11 alumni who were killed in action. The plaque will replace the old one that was installed during the war, which only had the names of 2 alumni.

Chapel Hill Cemetery in Grand Rapids is hosting a Memorial day ceremony on Monday. The events comes after volunteers placed flags by each grave to honor service men and women earlier this week. The ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. and officials will read the names of local veterans who have died in the last year. The event is open to the public.

Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll is hosting the city's annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at the Veteran's Memorial Garden. The Lee High School Band will perform, along with the Wyoming Department of Public Safety Honor Guard. A Lee High School Grad who is also a veteran will perform "Taps". Plus, officials will recognize the new arch for the Memorial Garden.

The cities of Walker and Douglas are hosting parades on Monday. In Douglas, the parade starts at 10 a.m. Plus, Douglas Home Furnishings will have more than 250 red roses that are available for free to place at grave sites in the cemeteries on Blue Star Highway and Wiley road. In Walker, the parade kicks off at noon on Monday at Walker Ice and Fitness on Remembrance road.

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