Town to celebrate Memorial Day
by Town Reminder
SOUTH HADLEY – The extent of the town’s Memorial Day celebration grows each year, but not without assistance from residents.
Contingents, floats, vehicles and marchers are still sought for this year’s celebration, to be held Monday, May 27.
“We’re trying to boost participation from last year,” said Department of Public Works Superintendent Jim Reidy. “It’s a wonderful event.”
Last year, 30 different groups and individuals participated in the parade. “We’re shooting to have a little more than that,” said Reidy.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Memorial Day, small ceremonies will take place at Evergreen Cemetery, the Commons (9:30 a.m.), St. Rose Cemetery (9:45 a.m.) and at Village Cemetery (10:15 a.m.).
The parade will kick-off at South Hadley High School at 11 a.m. and travel downtown to town hall.
The South Hadley High School Marching Band and Michael E. Smith Middle School Band will perform throughout the parade route.
Various floats, like Brunelle’s Marina’s Leprechaun Plunge, will mix with antique cars, Masonic groups, scouts and honor guard members.
Representatives from the South Hadley Police Department, fire departments, the youth commission, TRIAD, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry and the Selectboard, just to name a few, will add to the group.
Businesses and residents are more than welcome to participate in the parade. They may carry banners, but are not allowed to hand items out to the crowd.
To sign up for participation, call (413) 335-0789.
Participation forms can also be found on the Memorial Day Website (see box) and mailed to Veterans Services Agent C/O, South Hadley Town Hall, 116 Main St., South Hadley, Ma, 01075. The forms can be emailed to HYPERLINK “mailto:SHMemorialDay@gmail.com”SHMemorialDay@gmail.com.
Typically, the parade takes one hour to meander down to town hall.
At noon, Capt. David Gardner USCG will offer a speech as keynote speaker and Grand Marshall.
Gardner serves as Reserve Chief of Staff and Senior Reserve Officer of the First Coast Guard District, headquartered in Boston, where he is responsible for the training and readiness of more than 950 reservists in the northeastern United States, according to a press release from the town.
Gardner lives in South Hadley. He is dean of Pre-Medical Programs at Mount Holyoke College where teaches biology, runs a post baccalaureate program for college graduates and works with undergraduates planning for medical school and other health professions.
“David Gardner is an outstanding member of the Mount Holyoke community, whose service as a leader extends beyond the College, impacting the region, the nation, and the world,” said Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella. “We are so very proud of his accomplishments and thrilled that he is being recognized as the Grand Marshall for the upcoming Memorial Day parade.”
In the event of inclement weather, the town hall ceremony will occur at South Hadley High School’s auditorium at 11 a.m.
Following the ceremony, a catered reception will be served at St. Patrick’s Church in the Social Center, courtesy of American Legion Post 260. All residents are invited to attend.
Additionally, a celebration will be held at Buttery Brook Park after the town hall ceremony, complete with music and games for the whole family.
Residents are encouraged to bring a blanket and host a picnic on the grounds.
The Youth Commission will be cooking hot dogs and hamburgers, which residents can purchase for a small fee.
The South Hadley Community Band will perform at 2 p.m. in the park.
Taps will be played at 2:58 p.m. followed by a national moment of silence at 3 p.m. Amazing Grace will be sung at 3:02 p.m.
A student will give a speech following the song and the South Hadley Community Band will take the stage again at 3:10 p.m. for more entertainment.
The community is welcome to attend every event and highly encouraged to participate. For more information about the parade and subsequent celebrations, visit https://sites.google.com/site/shmemorialday/home.