Community arrives in red, white and blue for Memorial Day Parade
JOHNSTOWN — Community members, dressed in red, white and blue, gathered up and down Main Street in the city on Friday night to not only celebrate Memorial Day at the Memorial Day Parade, but to also honor veterans and the freedoms this country has because of the veterans.
“My favorite part is coming together as a community celebrating,” said Amber Frye, of Mayfield. Frye was there with her family and was excited to see the Mayfield Central School District Marching Band in the parade.
Prior to the start of the parade, many spectators were eager to see friends, family, loved ones and community members all participating in this year’s Memorial Day Parade.
Alisha Aquino, of Gloversville, who was at the parade with family and friends said her children were looking forward to seeing friends from school in the parade.
Some were excited to see the local fire departments as well as local law enforcement in the parade and some couldn’t wait for the candy that would be thrown out to spectators.
Aquino said to her Memorial Day is “for all the men and women severing who do everything for our country.” Amy Webb, a Johnstown resident who has seen the parade every year, said the Memorial Day Parade is a “hometown parade,” which is what she likes about it.
When the parade finished, some spectators said their favorite part of the parade were the horses from Paradise Ranch.
“It was very nice,” said Pat Valachovic.
Bella Calabrese said she liked seeing her uncle — who is a member of the Johnstown Fire Department — in the parade.
Immediately following the parade, a ceremony was held in the Main Street Park.
Mayor Vern Jackson thanked everyone for attending the Memorial Day Parade and thanked all the veterans for their service.
“Memorial Day is a day unlike any other. Since1868 we have come together in our cities, towns and villages to place flowers and flags on the graves of those men and women who have given their last full measure of devotion to our country,” Jackson said. “We are here to remember and honor those who have done their duty and never asked for anything in return. We must show them respect and remember them for doing their duty of protecting our freedom and way of life.”
He said Memorial Day was originally called decoration day and was a time for family and friends to come together to decorate the graves of those who died fighting for this country. Former President Richard Nixon changed the name in 1971 and it became a national day of remembrance.
“It is important to understand it’s the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the airmen and the coastguardsmen, not the reporters who have given us freedom of the press. It’s the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the airmen and the coastguardsmen, not the poet who gave us the freedom of speech. It’s the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the airmen and the coastguardsmen, not the politicians that ensured our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the soldiers, the sailors, the marines, the airmen and the coastguard who salute the flag and who serve beneath the flag and who’s coffin is draped by the flag.”