Pequannock Memorial Day Parade 2012

By Christopher Lotito
Local Girl Scouts participate in the commemoration of our
veterans, Memorial Day 2012.

The Pequannock Township Memorial Day Parade has always been one of the premier community events for the year, in much the way that the Halloween Parade has been in the past, and annual Ho-Down as well as the Christmas Tree Lighting continues to be.

The First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains was
just one of many organizations who marched and
donated materials and assistance to make the
parade a success.
2012's Memorial Day Parade was no exception to this tradition, hosting what appeared to be a record number of participants, from the Shamrock band playing covers of Nirvana rock songs, to the First Reformed Church band playing The Battle Hymn of the Republic, bagpipers, the Pequannock Township High School Marching Band, and so many more.

It looked as though half of the township and part of the surrounding area turned out to thank our veterans for their service to our country.  The parade itself, marked by extreme heat and humidity, was also marked by extreme acts of human kindness as countless homeowners turned volunteer, bringing out cold drinks along the parade route, and even going so far as to pick-up and recycle the resultant garbage.
Even Cedar Crest residents came to participate in the event
and we were glad to have them!
Pequannock's extremely gifted High School Marching Band

Watching the parade is an amazing event, but so is marching in it.  As last minute participants, having been asked on Sunday, my friend Zack and I carried a banner for the First Reformed Church and got to see a lot of familiar faces along the way.  I reconnected briefly with a family who had won a compost-ball from the Pequannock Environmental Commission when I was a member, they said it was working great!  This was also an opportunity for a community distanced from each other by flooding, no longer with a common grocery store promoting accidental meetings, to have an impromptu group reunion.

A hush falls over the crowd as Tirri speaks

The Memorial Service following the parade was very moving, including a speech in which Mayor Phelan noted the name of a veteran whose grave had only been recently rediscovered by American Legion member and all-around-community-volunteer Lou Hebert, as well as the origins of Memorial Day and its predecessor, Decoration Day.  Mayor Phelan's comments were accompanied by several other presenters, including local veteran Vincent Tirri, who gave a moving speech about a lost comrade and his conviction that  in some way, all Memorial Day barbecues and parties were a commemoration of that soldier and other soldiers like him.  At this, the crowd's reaction was marked not in applause but in the silent moment that preceded it, as they digested the amazing power of this idea.

Pequannock is blessed to have such a large number of amazing volunteers and veterans, committed to making our community a wonderful place to live, to raise a family, and to grow as citizens, a fact affirmed annually by the Memorial Day Parade.

Veteran and local son Vincent Tirri
delivered a powerful speech
on rememberance
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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