Rifle Salute

Union American Legion Post 297 members conducted a rifle salute during the Memorial Day ceremony Monday, May 28. The Legion hosted a parade through Union and then a ceremony at its hall. The ceremony featured guest speakers and military tributes from Legion members. -- Missourian Photo/Joe Barker.

 The streets of Union will once again be filled with red, white and blue in celebration of Memorial Day.

American Legion Post 297 is hosting its annual Memorial Day parade and service. The event is scheduled for Monday, May 27. The parade is set to begin at 10 a.m. with the service to follow at the Legion Post at 205 North Washington Ave.

The guest speaker will be United States Navy veteran Francis Kirner.

There will be a lunch served following the services.

The parade will follow the same route as it has in years past. After last year’s brisk pace, American Legion Post 297 Finance Officer Harvey Mefford joked the goal would be to slow down the Post members leading the parade. 

Mefford said people interested in marching in the parade should arrive early. Assembly for the parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the southeast corner of Locust and Church streets. Entries will line up along Locust Street leading back toward the Union Memorial Auditorium.

Ceremony Speaker

Francis Kirner was born January 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pa. He said among his first memories are air raid sirens being tested by the civil defense agency during World War II.

Growing up, Kirner was an Eagle Scout and graduated from North Catholic High School in the Pittsburgh area in 1961. That fall, he enrolled at the University of Notre Dame to study chemical engineering and began military training as part of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Unit.

Summer courses included preflight instruction at Pensacola, Fla. The summer before his junior and senior years he was assigned to the submarine USS Irex SS-482 out of New London, Conn.

After receiving his engineering degree in 1965, Kirner was commissioned as an ensign in the United Sates Navy and ordered to report to the US Naval Nuclear Power School in California.

He was transferred to the USS Patrick Henry (SSBN 599) Gold home ported in New London and operating out of the Navy Support Activity Base in Scotland. He served as an engineering officer. 

From there he made deterrent patrols until he left active duty and entered the reserves in 1969.

After leaving the Navy, Kirner worked on the brewing staff at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. He spent 25 years with the company in various roles throughout the country. 

He is a member of the American Legion and the United States Submarine Veterans USS Springfield Base. With the submarine veterans, he served as the treasurer and vice commander. 

Kirner and his wife, Sue, have one daughter and two grandchildren. 

Parade Route

The parade will feature Union’s Red and Black Brigade and the junior high band. Community floats also will participate in the mile-long parade.

Those watching the parade are asked to refrain from parking in the lot across Locust Street from Union City Hall.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at city hall. It is as follows:

• From the intersection of Locust and Church streets, the parade will travel north on Church Street to Main Street;

• West on Main Street to Oak Street;

• South on Oak Street to Locust Street;

• West on Locust Street to Washington Avenue;

• North on Washington Avenue to Main Street;

• West on Main Street to Christina Street;

• North on Christina Street to State Street; and

• East on State Street to the American Legion Post 297 building.

The ceremony will begin at the Post home once the parade is finished.