Memorial Day Parade Honors Those Who Served
Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30 on the corner of Springfield and Central Avenues.
Continuing the tradition that began more than 60 years ago, American Legion Post #433 and the Borough of New Providence will co-sponser the annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday to honor those who have served the United States.
The event begins at 9 a.m. with a memorial service by the Veterans of Foreign Wars at Veterans Memorial Park, South Street.
Councilman Armand Galluccio, who will speak at the service as he has done for the past three years, said that while Memorial Day is a nice time for family and friends to gather, it is important that people remember the true meaning of the holiday.
"The parade is a nice way of honoring our war dead," said Galluccio, who has marched with both the high school marching band and the Knights of Columbus in the past and carried the American flag. "A lot of our freedoms are because of our veterans. Sure, we have the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but it's our veterans who fought for us to keep our freedoms. Young men and women across the oceans are dying so that we do have those freedoms."
At 9:30 a.m., those participating in the line of march will assemble on Central and Springfield Avenues.
"While being mayor is a lot of work, one of the great honors is to have the opportunity to participate in the Memorial Day Parade and speak on behalf of the community to express our gratitude to everyone who has served and to honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the defense of freedom," Hern said.
Colonel Ronald B. Turk, Director of Support, Joint Force Headquarters, New Jersey Air National Guard, Ft. Dix, NJ, will be this year's guest speaker at the borough's ceremony, which will take place on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church.
The parade will pause twice for an honor guard salute and "Taps." The first stop will be at the United Methodist Church shortly after 10 a.m. and the second will occur at 10:20 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church.
Participants in this year's parade include girl and boy scout troops, the middle school band, the high school band and flags, the fire department and ladies auxiliary, the community pool, classic cars and many others.
The parade concludes at Veterans' Memorial at the Memorial Library, where "The Star Spangled Banner" will be sung.
"We have two community picnics following the parade," said Joe Steiner, who together with his wife Pam, has helped organize the event for the past three years. "The first is at the American Legion where service uniforms and memorablia dating back to the Mexican-American War are on display. The second is at the Senior Citizen Center. It'll be fun."
"It's really an honor and I'm looking forward to making this a special occasion for those who have served and those families who have sacrificed for this country," Hern said.
The American Legion and the Borough of New Providence expressed their appreciation to all those participating for their efforts in making this tribute to our fallen heroes possible.
Councilman Alan Lesnewich, who has lived in town for 58 years and marched in the parade since his childhood, shared his thoughts on what makes the event so special.
"For me, the Memorial Day Parade is always one of the significant events of the year," the councilman said. "It is a special gathering of the town that focuses on the positive side of life in the shadow of those who have sacrificed for us going back hundreds of years. In respectful silence, we hear a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the opportunity to live in a country with so many blessings and one of the local young men or woman sings with pride our National Anthem. It is an opportunity for reflection and a reminder of all of the little and big things that we all too often take for granted.
"As I tell my children probably far too often, it is a time and a place in a special community that causes me to be thankful for 'small-town' America. It is one of those events that reminds us of the things that make our country great."