NUTLEY, NJ - A little rain didn’t ruin the parade, at least not for the township of Nutley Monday morning. Adults and children gathered in ponchos and umbrellas, to mark the remembrance of America’s fallen heroes.
A ceremony at the World War II Moment near the Nutley Public Library on Vincent Place preceded the 98th annual parade. Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli welcomed the crowd, huddled under a blue canopy. Dignitaries included Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, Nutley Commissioners Thomas J. Evans, Alphonse Petracco, Steven L. Rogers and Mauro Tucci. The Rev. Thomas Nicastro of St. Mary’s Church gave the invocation.
“We march in a parade, welcome summer and barbecue. Let us remember what this day is about: a day to acknowledge the valor of others, a day to remember those soldiers who laid their lives on the line, those men and women who selflessly dedicated of themselves.” said Mayor Scarpelli
“Since the day of the Revolution these great people answered the call protecting and serving others. Each of them wrote a blank check some up to the cost of their great lives,” said Henry DelTosto of the Veterans Council and American Legion Post 70. “Because of them our lives are free,” he added.
The Mayor led everyone in singing the National Anthem.
Lynne DelTosto, Donna Ackerman, and Christina Gardabasco of the American Legion Post 70 Auxillary presented the American Flag to Commissioner Tucci on behalf of the Township. “We are holding the integrity of the flag,” said DelTosto.
The Stuart E. Edgar Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 493 Color Guard gave the ceremonial Volley and Robert Krupinski then played Taps as the crowd was silent. The bell chimed in memory of those lost.
The service moved across the street to the Fire Department as firefighters led by Fire Chief Philip Nicolette and Deputy Fire Chief Paul Cafone gathered on the Public Safety Building’s parking lot. Chief Nicolette read the Fireman’s Prayer. “Nutley lost a lot of good men here including Mike Rossi and Barrett Pote,” he said. Both Rossi and Pote were part of the Nutley Volunteer Emergency and Rescue Squad. Pote was also a firefighter.
The observance continued at Tangora Field “The Oval” where the notables gathered at the entrance steps. The mayor welcomed all the participants who were lined up on field. Henry DelTosto introduced Grand Marshal Steven D. Crowley.
Crowley dedicated the parade to his late friend veteran Frank Panniccui. Crowley told how his friend lost his arm in the war and how he kept close to him.
A second ceremonial Volley was given again by the VFW Post 493 Color Guard and taps was performed by Nutley High School senior Tom Burrow. The Rev. Audrey Hasselbrook of Grace Episcopal Church gave the closing prayer.
As the ceremony ended the parade began despite the rainfall. The participants left the field and took off for the course from Chestnut Street to Passaic Avenue to Centre Street and then ending on Franklin Avenue where the viewing stand was placed in front of John H. Walker Middle School.
The Grand Marshal stepped foot in a Model T Ford. The commissioners marched behind. Performers were Nutley High School Raider Marching Band, John H. Walker Middle School Band, Nutley All-Elementary School Band, South Park and District Pipes and Drums. Marchers included American Legion Post 70, American Legion Post 70 Auxiliary, Amvets Nutley Post #30, VFW Post 493, Nutley Police Department, Nutley Fire Department and Nutley Volunteer Emergency and Rescue Squad.
Also participating were League of Women Voters of the Nutley area, Nutley Elks Lodge #1290, Rotary Club of Nutley, Nutley Unico, Nutley Boy and Girl Scouts, Nutley Seventh Grade Girls Travel Basketball Team and Independent Wrestling Federation.
Spectators although few in numbers cheered loudly as the marchers passed them. People who watched the parade were able to donate food for the needy at the same time. Franklin Reformed Church members along with Eileen Painter of the Nutley Family Service Bureau pushed shopping carts collecting more than just raindrops on the route. Although the weather dampened the cause they still received some donations. Carts for Caring joined the parade for the first time last year.
Crowley took his seat on the viewing stand watching the rest of the parade. “They should thank Henry [DelTosto] and all the others to have the guts to stick it out, all other towns chickened out. If you served and lost friends it means a lot to you,” he said.
Mayor Joseph Scarpelli expressed his gratitude to the parade organizers, participants, parade goers, and especially those whose sacrifice was honored on Memorial Day. His expression of thanks: Gratitude for Nutley's Memorial Day Parade
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