NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence Memorial Day Parade is the one event each year that brings the whole town outside rain or shine to line Springfield Avenue with folding chairs and strollers and to stop for a moment in honor our veterans and fallen heroes.
A perfect-for-marching 60 degrees greeted New Providence residents and participants at 10:00 a.m. on the morning of Memorial Day. Crowded under the line of Hometown Hero banners that line Springfield Avenue and at just after 10a.m., the crowd could hear the first sounds of the New Providence High School Marching Band’s drum line begin the long trek from New Providence High School to the center of town.
Opening Ceremonies began with The Star-Spangled Banner, sung by NPHS graduate Lara Gavagan. She was followed by remarks by New Providence resident Major Christopher Lazas, who was deployed in Iraq from 2008-2009, where he served in Baghdad and is currently serving as the Legal Advisor to the Commanding General of the NJ National Guard. Mayor Al Morgan talked about remembering those who gave all, “Just to ask everybody to keep in mind what Memorial Day actually means. The younger generation hasn’t gone through all the conflicts that the older have to make us free, and to give us the opportunity to live the kind of lifestyle which we cherish. So, just walk up and down the street, look at our veterans, and in your hearts just thank them for what they’ve given all of us.”
With that the parade began, with Grand Marshal John “Sean” McGovern leading the way, right behind was a gleaming line of New Providence Fire Trucks and EMS vehicles, the American Legion Post #433, and the New Providence Police Honor Guard. Right behind was the 150 members of the New Providence High School Marching Band in full dress. Also in the parade were the New Providence Rescue Squad, the Knights of Columbus, Miss Garden State teen, Mary Delia, the Chatham Fire Department, the New Providence Lions Club, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, The New Providence Middle School Band and many more groups and clubs.
Earlier in the morning, Mayor Morgan spoke at a service at Veterans Park, “In the shadow of all that’s good, we have the American flag; we have this great park, the flags of the different services, the hometown hero banners that I want to thank Detective Mike Hand who started this. I can’t remember how many times people stop and just look at all these veterans. We are one of 13 states that are able to have our lineage back to the revolutionary war and our veterans. Some gave up all, some gave up some, but because of all of their efforts through the years we’re able to live in such a great town and such a great nation. So at this time please take a few minutes and just think about our veterans, past and present, who are keeping us safe.”
On Memorial Day each year, all Americans stop to honor the more than 1.2 million Americans that have died in battle since 1775. From the 4,435 soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War, to the 618,222 soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Civil War, to the 6,915 Americans who lost their lives to the Global War on Terrorism.
After the parade, residents headed to the Veterans Memorial at the New Providence Library for a short concluding service. The New Providence American Legion Post #433 served hot dogs and refreshments and the Decorso Community Center also served hot dogs and desserts.