Memorial Lantern Float in Hannibal is a Memorial Day Weekend Tradition
Saturday evening, the public is invited to attend the 5th annual Memorial Lantern Float. This event is a ceremonial release of lanterns into the Mississippi from Nipper Park as symbols of the universal hope for peace, open to all regardless of religion or background.
Jim O'Donnell of the James O'Donnell Funeral Home, the Memorial Lantern Float's sponsor, says that this event has grown quite a lot over the past five years. "We started out with around 75 lanterns," O'Donnell said, "this year's event has 225 reserved. We have plenty, but we ask people to please call the funeral home and reserve a lantern. The event is free and open to the public. "Anybody that wants to be a part of it, we'd love to have."
From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., those interested in decorating their lanterns are invited to meet in Nipper Park on the Mississippi Riverfront. The James O'Donnell Funderal Home provides lanterns, and decorative material, although many participants choose to bring their own items, such as pictures of their loved ones. In the past, participants have also written special messages, prayers, and favorite quotes on their lanterns, and even included small mementos that reflected the memory of those the lantern honored.
At 8 p.m.a brief ceremony will take place as the lanterns are released in memory of loved ones and are floated down the Mississippi. Lanterns are free of charge, but quantity is limited. Reserve a lantern by calling the James O’Donnell Funeral Home at 573-221-8188.