FLORENCE, Mass. (WWLP) – Florence held their 153rd annual Memorial Day parade Monday morning.
“We must remember them. if we don’t remember them, if we don’t remember history, how can we look ahead,” said Thomas Pease, Commander of VFW post 8006.
Organizers of the parade say it is actually the oldest continuously-running Memorial Day parade on Memorial Day in the county. This year’s parade had to be scaled-down again because of the pandemic. No youth bands performed because organizers say many of the teenagers wouldn’t be fully vaccinated in time.
“First hand, I’ve seen the loss of life. I served in Vietnam. They gave us their lives so we may have the freedoms that we have now,” said Pease.
The parade went from Trinity Row to Park Street Cemetery for a ceremony afterwards. Northampton Mayor Narkewicz says the city has more than 5,000 veterans graves.
“I know people think of it as a three day weekend but really it’s a time to pause and remember and to thank those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mayor Narkewicz.
“153 years in a row. So we’re quite proud of that. So there’s no way, COVID or not, that we were not going to do some sort of remembrance for all of women and men who passed away serving our country,” said Pease.
The parade organizers say they look forward to next year when the parade can be back in it’s full glory.
Every Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. there is a national Moment of Remembrance where everyone is asked to take a moment of silence to remember those who died serving the country.