CRANBURY, NJ – Try as they might, threatening forecasts and leaden skies couldn't make a wash of this year's Lions Club Memorial Day parade.
With various weather reports calling for rain, and overcast cloud cover all but serving as confirmation, the parade went on as usual, stepping off a little after 1 p.m. Monday afternoon.
Though it marched down its regular Main Street route, the number of people lining the streets to watch the parade was noticeably less than last year, perhaps due to concerns about the weather or confusion about if it was still on.
According to Cranbury Lions Club President Phyllis Johnson, the decision to continue as planned wasn't made until 9 a.m. the morning of.
“It's been a great day, I'm so pleased,” she said, of the weather holding. “It means a lot to me and to the town.”
Forming a flashing column of emergency lights, fire and first aid squad companies from Cranbury, Hightstown, East Windsor, Plainsboro, Monroe and Applegarth rolled in, showcasing fire trucks and ambulances both past and present.
Local businesses, such as Cranbury Limousine and RA Nichols Plumbing & Heating, also made appearances in the parade lineup.
Additionally, community organizations, such as the Cranbury Golden Agers Club, the Boy and Girl Scouts, the Cranbury Public Library and the Township Committee, could be seen participating in the parade.
Immediately following, parade marchers and goers alike rendezvoused at Memorial Park for a sobering service that included the lowering of the flag to half-staff and a rendition of “Taps,” as well as the presentation of wreaths in front of the monument to the township's veterans.
Mayor Dan Mulligan said that it's important to remember what gives the community pause on Memorial Day.
“It's important to me to remember that we're here to remember people that served and gave their lives for our country,” he said. “And a big part of what they gave their lives for is our liberty and freedom. Liberty and freedom is very important to me, as I'm sure it's important to you, and I'd like to think it means something a little bit different to everybody.”
The liberty and freedoms enshrined in our constitution were paid for by a serviceman's sacrifice, Mayor Mulligan said, and it's important to cherish them.
The daughter of a WWII veteran, state Sen. Linda Greenstein D-14 said she does something a little unusual when she returns home from travel abroad.
“Whenever I go out of this country and I come back, I literally kiss the ground,” she said. “I know it sounds a little crazy, but I'm so grateful to be in this country.”
Assemblymen Dan Benson D-14 and Wayne DeAngelo D-14 were also in attendance.
Sponsored by the Cranbury Lions Club, this year's parade was supported by Brown Dog Produce (Simonson Farms), Conley Electric, Cranbury Limousine, Cranbury School PTO, Gil & Bert's Ice Cream, New Jersey Community Bank, RA Nichols Plumbing & Heating, Synergex Physical Therapy, Teddy's Restaurant and Zenergy Wellness Center.
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