WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield kicked off Memorial Day Monday morning with memorial ceremonies and a parade led by Grand Marshal Ralph Douglas, sponsored by the American Legion Martin Wallberg Post #3 and the town of Westfield.

Allan Betau, commander of the Westfield American Legion Martin Wallberg Post #3, thanked Peter Hogaboom, who will soon move away, for his work on the annual parade for the past 14 years. Hogaboom also told the crowd interesting facts about Civil War Union General Sherman.

Mayor Andy Skibitsky asked the crowd to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the servicemen and women still putting themselves in harm’s way, not just on Memorial Day but every day.

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“Thank you and God bless America,” Skibitsky said.

Bob D’Arecca, chaplain for Post #3, offered the opening prayer and benediction. Kerry Stubbs sang “God Bless America” with help from the crowd.

The Westfield High School band, headed by Chris Vitali, performed the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Dr. Ted Schlosberg from the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts and WHS student Dale Beyert performed “Echo Tapps.” Schlosberg has been playing Tapps at the Westfield Memorial Day Parade for more than 55 years.

Wreaths, sponsored by the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion, Westfield PAL and the Westfield Boosters Association, were placed at each of the town’s war memorials.

A series of bell tolls from the bell tower at the First United Methodist Church was coordinated by Jack Panosh, Westfield Bell Master and town clock curator.

Marching in the parade were a contingent of veterans and members of the New Jersey National Guard, Mayor Skibitsky, members of the town council and their children, Westfield police officers and firefighters, members of the department of public works, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Westfield High School Marching Band, the Westfield Community Band and other lcoal organizations.

The parade proceeded from the WWI monument North on East Broad Street to Fairview Cemetery, where a closing ceremony was held by The American Legion. Afterward, the community was invited to the American Legion Post #3 for a barbecue.

For more photos and video from the parade, visit our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WestfieldTAP.