BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - For many, it's the story of a “poppy” and not a trip to a “sale” at the mall or even the kick-off of the summer, that is the heart of Memorial Day. Honoring our military and all those who were lost in service to our nation has always been a special tradition in Berkeley Heights.

The day will start with groups participating in the Annual Memorial Day Parade gathering on Locust Avenue, east of Snyder Avenue towards the Community Pool at 8:45 a.m. The Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. taking its route down Snyder Avenue, west on Springfield, south on Plainfield Avenue ending at Veterans Memorial Park.

The Special Events Committee welcomes new Parade participants. Spectators will be introduced to the new Hometown Heroes Banners lining the way to the renovated Park. The Banner Project was enthusiastically approved by Mayor Robert Woodruff and the Town Council, and were compiled by volunteers of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee and its Operation: We Remember Program.

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There are 128 service men and women who grace the banners, each with a photo that through its image shares a story of courage, dedication, and patriotism. The project was funded through the generosity of a local resident seeking to honor his own father, a Veteran of the Korean War. Lisa Barfield of Clearpoint Designs created the banners, and under Director Joe Niosi, the Berkeley Heights DPW hung them with pride and care. Township Clerk Ana Minkoff, Deputy Clerk Patty Donohue and Assistant Maureen Irving offered their kindness to residents who presented cherished photographs to be scanned and submitted.

The ceremony entitled, “Honoring Our Hometown Heroes,” following the parade will take place at Veterans Memorial Park and includes VFW Post # 6259 honoring of the Fallen, commemorative presentations, remarks from Korean War Veteran and Grand Marshal Douglas T. Garno, who served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force, and musical performances.

Refreshments will follow. The Memorial Day Program is made possible by the collaboration of volunteers of the Berkeley Heights Special Events Committee, the Veterans Memorial Park Committee, and VFW Post #6259 along with the Recreation, Police and Fire Departments, Rescue Squad, DPW, and Municipal elected officials and staff.

It is a day of friendship and community spirit that brings citizens of all ages together to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

This year, donations are welcome to support the services and programs of VFW Post #6259. Volunteers will be on site to share how residents can help support our local Veterans. For more information, to participate in the parade or to volunteer, please contact the Recreation Department at 908-464-0550 Ext. 11.