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John Sparks walks through graves after last year's Memorial Day program at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Chattanooga. Sparks, a former prisoner of war, was a member of the honor guard during the ceremony.

Monday is Memorial Day, the day set aside to pay tribute to personnel who died while serving in the military. It's not to be confused with Veterans Day, the federal holiday in November that honors all personnel who have served in the military.

Yes, it's also considered the unofficial start of summer, but to forget its significance would be unpatriotic.

Here are some ways to remember those who gave all for their country.

MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES

» The National Cemetery Administration is hosting Memorial Day ceremonies at national cemeteries across the country, and the Chattanooga National Cemetery is among them.

A Memorial Day service will be held at Chattanooga National Cemetery, 1200 Bailey Ave., at 2 p.m. Monday. The site was decorated with a U.S. flag on each grave Saturday by more than 2,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, troop leaders and parents.

» The East Ridge Memorial Day ceremony will be held at Pioneer Frontier Park beside East Ridge City Hall at 1 p.m. Monday.

American Legion Post 95 in East Ridge organizes this event in partnership with city personnel and Crestwood Garden Club. Cmdr. Larry Palmer will emcee.

During the ceremony, the Lester Norton Award for Patriotism will be presented to an East Ridge citizen for displaying patriotism.

FLAG THOROUGHFARE

Ringgold, Georgia, commemorates its veterans twice a year with more than 1,400 full-size American flags and crosses lining the streets. Each one represents someone who lived in Catoosa County, served in the Armed Forces and has passed away.

Veterans who were killed in action, prisoners of war or considered missing in action fly at sites near the courthouse.

Flags will return for two weeks in November for Veterans Day.

MOVIE SALUTES MARINES

Just for Memorial Day weekend, the new Imax film "We, the Marines" will be shown twice daily through Monday.

The movie takes viewers on an action-packed adventure into the experience of becoming and serving as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Narrated by Gene Hackman, Academy Award-winning actor and former Marine, the film uses the giant screen to honor the dedication, service and firsthand experiences of Marines.

"This film needed to have a documentary-newsreel kind of immediacy, an unstaged, unpolished, raw approach — like the Marines themselves," says the film's director, Greg MacGillivray.

"The result is less a set-up Hollywood-style film with carefully laid-out and rehearsed shots and more a spontaneous, immediate, organic film that comes from real-life experience," he describes.

Audiences will see feats of strength and endurance in boot camp that prepare Marines for the stresses of life on the front lines. They'll witness mountain training, parachute jumping, rappelling from helicopters and how K-9 units train side by side with Marines.

If you go

» What: "We, The Marines."

» When: 2 and 5 p.m. today and Monday.

» Where: Tennessee Aquarium Imax 3D Theater, 201 Chestnut St.

» Admission: $11.95 adults, $9.95 children.

» Information: www.tnaqua.org.

 

FIREWORKS

The Chattanooga Lookouts conclude a five-game home stand against the Montgomery Biscuits tonight with a post-game fireworks show. Game time is 6:15 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans through the gates receive a Lookouts logo baseball.

 

VISIT A BATTLEFIELD

The staff of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is offering several events in recognition of Memorial Day.

Some will take place at Chickamauga Battlefield, 3370 LaFayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Others are scheduled at Point Park on Point Park Road on Lookout Mountain. Join one to learn more about local history while enjoying each park's scenic beauty.

All programs at Chickamauga Battlefield are free. Admission to Point Park is $7 for ages 16 and over, free for ages 15 and younger. There is no admission fee at Cravens House on Lookout Mountain.

For more information, call 706-866-9241.

If you go

» What: "Medal of Honor Recipients in the Battle of Chickamauga"

» When: 2 p.m. today

Meet at Chickamauga Battlefield's Visitor Center for a 90-minute car caravan tour focusing on the nine men who fought along the banks of Chickamauga Creek in September 1863 and became Medal of Honor recipients. What did each of them do that was considered above the call of duty?

Living-history programs also will take place at the battlefield today at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

» What: Walking Tours at Point Park

» When: Today

Ranger-guided walking tours of Point Park are scheduled for 11 a.m., 2 and 4 p.m.

Living-history presentations will take place at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

» What: Ranger-guided tours

» When: Monday

Ranger-guided car caravan tours of Chickamauga Battlefield will be held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

At Point Park, ranger-guided walking tours are scheduled for 11 a.m., 2 and 4 p.m. Living-history presentations will take place at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

— Compiled by staff writer Susan Pierce

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