Mantua will hold its annual Memorial Day service with the township’s VFW on Monday May 29, with both a parade and a ceremony at the municipal building.
The two events will be held in conjunction with neighboring Wenonah and American Legion Post 192. The parade itself will start at 8:45 a.m. at the intersection of Mantua and Marian avenues in Wenonah.
“We cooperate with Wenonah and the American Legion Post there,” said Joe Heitman of the Mantua VFW. “There will be speakers, an honor guard and a bicycle decorating contest.”
The bicycle decorating contest is for kids to learn the meaning of Memorial Day beyond a three-day weekend known for barbecues.
“We try to draw the kids out and to teach them the importance of the day,” said Heitman.
Once the parade begins, it will make two stops: the first at Wenonah Cemetery along Wenonah Avenue, and the second at Mantua Methodist Cemetery.
The service’s keynote speaker will be Commissioner Denise DiCarlo, who oversees the cemetery and veteran’s advisory committees. The guest speaker will be a female Air Force veteran.
The parade will end at the municipal building with a service at 10:30 a.m. Local officials of both Mantua and Wenonah are expected to march in the parade and participate in the service.
Mantua and Wenonah have always had close ties. Both share a police station, and Wenonah’s then-Mayor John R. Dominy participated in monthly meetings with Mantua and Harrison Township on how to improve school security in 2022.
One of the goals for the parade and service, according to Heitman, is to help people realize the significance of Memorial Day to the community and country.
“To most veterans, this is the most important holiday of the year,” Heitman noted. “Many of us were lucky enough to come home, but many others weren’t as lucky. What we try to impress upon people is the opportunity to pay homage to the people who sacrifice themselves for our country.”