PISCATAWAY, NJ - Despite predictions of heavy downpours in Middlesex County, the rain held off as Piscataway Memorial Day services and parade went on as scheduled on Monday.
The day began with memorial services at Possumtown Park’s Veterans Park, as members of Boy Scout Troop 20 and American Legion Post 261 led the Pledge of Allegiance and the lowering of the American flag to half-mast in honor to those who were lost to war.
Mayor Brian Wahler introduced the parade’s 2016 Grand Marshal, George J. Wallace, a Navy veteran who fought in the Korean War.
“I’m very proud,” Wallace said to TAPinto Piscataway about being selected. “I couldn’t have a nicer way to enjoy this day than being the Grand Marshal.”
“I salute all of those who have served our country,” Wallace told spectators. “To those who are serving now and all of you who support our troops and our country, I stand proud with you.”
Wallace, a Piscataway resident since 1979, was a 2nd Class Petty Officer, Submarine Service from 1952-1954 during the Korean War. He served aboard the USS Manta as an electronics technician which was shot at daily by U.S. airplanes and other submarines. Its mission was to be a live target to refine the electronics and mechanics of torpedoes and improve their accuracy.
“I loved every minute of the action,” said Wallace about serving his country. “To tell the truth, if I was asked to join again I would do so tomorrow.”
By 11 a.m. the sun was shining and parade goers lined neighborhoods along West 7th Street and South Washington Ave.
Cheers and applause could be heard as veterans, government officials, police, fire and rescue units, and various civic groups including the Elks and members from the Piscataway Senior Center marched by, tossing handfuls of candy to the children along the parade route.
Other marchers included staff members from several local Piscataway businesses who carried banners displaying the services they offer, and a vocalist from Living Hope Outreach Center sang out in praise while church members greeted the crowd.
Families and friends danced and cheered as the SuperChiefs marching band played familiar tunes, and Girl and Boy Scout Troops from around Piscataway marched in their full uniforms, displaying the colorful patches and awards they have earned.