Memorial parade to honor military

The annual Memorial Day parade through Hightstown will not be led by a single grand marshal, as has been the tradition for many years.

By: Scott Morgan
   HIGHTSTOWN — The borough’s annual Memorial Day parade may follow the traditional route this year, but it won’t be following the usual path.
   In most parades, there is a lone grand marshal who serves as the honorary leader of the pageant. But this Memorial Day is not like most. It is the first time the holiday will be celebrated since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
   As such, this year’s parade will not be led by a single grand marshal, but by the men and women of the armed services. Parade coordinator Neal Glackin said the idea this year is to honor all those who serve — or have served — rather than any single person.
   "There is no need to put one person ahead of those serving overseas and those who’ve died," Mr. Glackin said. "We want to honor them as a group, even though they’re not here."
   For those servicemen and servicewomen who are here, Mr. Glackin is throwing open some welcoming arms. He has asked any active service personnel who might be home on leave or any reservists or National Guard members and who are available to march to join the parade Monday morning.
   The day’s events begin at 8 a.m. with a memorial ceremony for deceased service members. The ceremony is not part of the parade route, but rather a solemn ceremony for the honored dead, Mr. Glackin said. The ceremony will be conducted by members of American Legion Post 148 and Hightstown Engine Company No. 1 and will take place at the Cedar Hill Cemetery on Mercer Street.
   The parade, despite the construction going on downtown, will follow the usual route, Mr. Glackin said. Like always, the parade will begin on Stockton Street between the Grace N. Rogers and Walter C. Black schools. From there, the route will proceed to Academy Street, then onto Bank Street, onto Main Street, to the second part of Academy Street and finally up Morrison Avenue to Herron Avenue.
   Along the way, the parade will stop at the Civil War monument on Stockton Street and Rogers Avenue and the VFW service monument beside the Hightstown Branch of the Mercer County Library, Mr. Glackin said. While there, the parade will pause for a helicopter, which will drop a wreath into Peddie Lake to honor Navy veterans, he said.
The Memorial Day parade will begin at 9 a.m. Monday. Service members interested in joining the parade are invited to arrive by 8:45 a.m. outside the Grace N. Rogers and Walter C. Black schools. Refreshments will be served at the Hightstown VFW building on Dutch Neck Road immediately following the parade.