WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield American Legion Martin Wallberg Post 3 formed in May 1919 in support of the nearly 500 Westfield residents who enlisted in World War I.
On Monday, Westfield will mark the 100th anniversary of that American Legion post in its annual Memorial Day Parade scheduled with opening ceremonies beginning at 9 a.m. at the World War I Monument Circle, Stan Cuba, of the Westfield Memorial Day Parade Committee, announced.
The late Westfield High School Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson has been named honorary grand marshal.
Participating organizations marching in the parade are requested to be at the Lord & Taylor West parking lot by 8 a.m. where line-of-march positions will be assigned, said Cuba in a news release.
Allan Betau, past commander of the Westfield American Legion Martin Wallberg Post No. 3 will deliver remarks on the 100th-year anniversary of the Martin Wallberg Post No. 3, the announcement said.
Here’s the full lineup announced by the American Legion:
Bob D’Arecca, chaplain for the American Legion post, will offer the opening prayer and benediction. Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle will express her thoughts on the importance of Memorial Day.
Kerry Stubs will sing an a cappella rendition of “God Bless America,” and Bob Wade is set to play bagpipes during the ceremony.
The Westfield High School Chorale Group, conducted by John Brzozowski, will sing the “Star Spangled Banner.”
The Westfield High School Marching Band, led by Chris Vitali, will play music along the parade route. The Westfield Community Band will offer various patriotic tunes throughout the parade route.
Ted Schlosberg from the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts, will direct the “Echo Taps Ensemble” with trumpeters Glen Parisi, Dan Sugarman, Duncan Cook and Stas Staszakharenko as a tribute to fallen veterans. Schlosberg has played taps for 59 years for various veteran ceremonies throughout the state.
The American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion have sponsored wreaths.
Larry Sheldon, a Westfield resident, is sponsoring a wreath from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, which will be presented by members of the Girl Scouts.
The Westfield PAL and the Westfield Boosters will present wreaths honoring veterans.
Schlosberg will present a wreath on behalf of the Schlosberg family in memory of his Uncle George Cohen, a tank Commander in World War II, as well as Ted’s brothers’, Lenny and Norman, who served in the U.S. Air Force.
The New Jersey Calvary and Armor Association, on behalf of the 1-102nd Calvary National Guard in Westfield, which is deployed in Jordan, will present a wreath.
Who tolls the bell
A series of bell tolls will echo from the tower of the First United Methodist Church coordinated by Jack Panosh, Westfield Bell Master and town clock curator.
Re-enactors of the “The Fighting 69th Regiment New York State Volunteers” will perform the gun volleys at the opening ceremony. The 69th was the first regiment of the famed Irish Brigade of the Union Army during the Civil War. Today, members use authentic uniforms and equipment to accurately portray the soldiers as they were in 1862.
This year’s Grand Marshal has been awarded posthumously to Dr. Derrick Nelson, the late Westfield High School Principal who tragically passed away last month.
Participating civic groups include the Westfield Community Center, the Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Boy and Cub Scouts and members of the PAL.
Antique and classic cars will join the parade.
A contingent of veterans will lead the parade followed by the mayor, Town Council and members of the Board of Education.
After the opening ceremonies, Barbara Verdic will direct the parade North on East Broad to Fairview Cemetery for a final ceremony by the American Legion at the cemetery's Civil War section.
The Westfield High School Band The “Blue Devils” will keep marchers “in step” with a variety of patriotic music.
Details for marchers
All participants marching in the parade should be in the Lord & Taylor West parking lot between 8 and 8:20 a.m., where a position in the line of march will be designated. Drivers are requested to drop off all participants in the parking lot across from Lord & Taylor. Police will be there to safely cross pedestrians to the main lot.
The parade committee thanks the management of Lord & Taylor in Westfield for allowing us to use their parking lot to assemble the parade marchers.
A barbeque at The American Legion Post on the corner of Crossway and North Avenue will follow. All are welcome.
In the event of inclement weather on the day of the parade members of the public are requested to call 908-233-2767 for details.