The 2018 Harding Township Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony is now in the history books. As promised the parade featured fire engines, ambulances, bands, horses, dogs and lots of people marching in honor of our veterans. The only thing missing where the clowns!
The parade arrived in Memorial Park to find a large crowd of spectators waiting for the events featured speaker, Irv Zander.
Patrolman Stephen Rollin of the Harding Township Police Department, a veteran of Kuwait and Iraq, led the large crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Reverand Brian Sullivan gave the Invocation and Mike Meade, himself a veteran, provided the introduction for Mr. Zander. Mike Meade’s introduction:
Good morning. I am Mike Meade and I have been given the honor to introduce the Grand Marshall of the parade today. I have known this man for close to 50 years. As a kid right out of high school, he joined the Army and quickly found himself in the jungles and rice paddies of South Vietnam. When he returned home, he was not met by a ticker-tape parade, confetti, or marching band. When the veterans of this war came back, they just tried to blend in with society. This man has been among us his entire life with very few people being aware of his patriotism. When I went to tell him that the community wanted to recognize him at this ceremony, I was really taken back by his response — he became choked up and a tear came to his eye. His response, “After all these years, people really care.” I told him we do, at which time he told me that he would be honored to. So it is my honor and privilege to present to you my friend and the Grand Marshall, Mr. Irv Zander.
Mr. Zander spoke elegantly about the sacrifices made by all of our veterans, but particularly those that gave their lives for our freedom. He described their service as a blank check, which for some ended up marked “paid in full” with their lives. More than 20 veterans who participated in the parade then introduced themselves, giving a brief description of their service, and were loudly cheered by the assembled spectators.
Following Mr. Zander’s emotional and moving speech, a wreath was presented to honor all fallen war heroes. Interspersed during the program where songs and music presented by the Harding Township school’s band, under the direction of Tim Alworth, the chorus, under the direction of Rachel Gareau and Mrs. LuAnn Romano. Jake Hays, an HTCA Trustee and Vice President, was the event’s MC.
Photo’s of the Ceremony are below and here is Irv Zander’s speech.