Medford’s annual Memorial Day parade – sponsored by township council and VFW Post 7677 – will return on Monday, May 30.
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Milton H. Allen School and travel through South Main Street. It will then go left on South Main and stop at the war memorial for the raising of an American flag, presentation of a wreath and a 21-gun salute, then continue on Union Street and conclude at Freedom Park, where a ceremony will be held.
This year’s parade participants will include members of the VFW post, Medford police and EMS, the Union and Taunton fire companies and the Civil Air Patrol-Air Victory Museum Composite Squadron.
Mark Preston, post commander and retired U.S. Army colonel, noted that local members of the VFW have been involved in the township’s Memorial Day parade since the post was established 75 years ago and its veterans lead the parade. The VFW is also involved in a Red Cross blood drive, CPR and babysitter training and local scholarship opportunities for high- school students.
“We support the community as much as we can,” Preston said.
VFW members are involved in other local Memorial Day parades and observances, with 12 to 30 veterans often in attendance, according to Preston. The events cover Tabernacle, Shamong, Chatsworth, Lumberton and Southampton townships, and VFW members also visit 17 cemeteries in the Pinelands.
“We’re letting everybody know that there’s people who have sacrificed their lives for all of us to be where we’re at today, and we’re just trying to continue that tradition so nobody ever forgets,” Preston noted.
Other participants in Medford’s parade will be Medford Masonic Lodge No. 178, the Warrior Watch Riders and the Shawnee High School marching band, which has participated in township parades and been an active participant in Memorial Day parades and celebrations for many years.
Pam Czekay, a graduate of Shawnee and former member of the marching band, will be the Memorial Day parade’s band director for the first time this year. The group will wear their traditional Shawnee blue uniforms and perform a piece of music called “Main Street America.”
“It’s a medley of patriotic music and music of the armed forces to honor those who have fallen on memorial day,” said Czekay, who added that the band will march with the American flag and banner in front and the color guard will perform down Main Street in Medford.
“I’m excited to see the kids march in the parade again and be able to honor our soldiers and our country by doing this,” she noted. “It’s an important tradition for us.”
For more information, visit medfordtownship.com.