Holliston Honors Veterans With Memorial Day Services
Holliston celebrated Memorial Day on Monday with its annual parade, which was organized by the VFW and American Legion.
The community of Holliston joined to celebrate Memorial Day with its annual parade, which was organized by the Holliston VFW and American Legion Post 47 on Monday.
"It's been a tradition for many years," said Steve Napolitano, who is the commander of the Holliston American Legion and one of the parade's organizers. "They've been doing this for probably 70 years."
"We have two dedication points in the parade route, we stop there," said Napolitano, who served in Vietnam with the ninth Marines. "Then, after the dedication points, we go up to Town Hall and have a ceremony."
At the end of the ceremony, there was a gun salute, followed by the playing of "Taps" by two trumpeters.
Bob Lindsey, the incoming commander of the Holliston VFW, was also one of the presenters at the Town Hall ceremony.
"I stand before you with a deep sense of humility and honor to have been given the privilege of addressing the meaning of Memorial Day, and why we should hold this day in deep reverence," Lindsey said in his speech.
Memorial Day was established on May 5, 1868, three years after the Civil War ended, by the Grand Army of the Republic and was originally referred to as Decoration Day. The day was intended to serve as a time for citizens to decorate graves of the soldiers who gave their lives in war to protect the country.
President Lyndon Johnson and Congress declared in 1966 that Waterloo, NY was the birthplace of Memorial Day. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.
"Memorial Day is a special holiday, a single day during which we honor the spirit of all those who died in service to our nation, but whom we continue to remember and honor in our hearts" said Lindsey.
"Instead of seeing a stone monument on this special day, we see the faces of all those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom," added Lindsey.
Planning for the Memorial Day parade is relatively swift, with the process for this year's parade beginning about a month ago.
"(First) we've got to elect a Memorial Day committee," said Napolitano of the planning stages. "Those guys are in charge of filing for a permit in town, they have to map out a parade route and give that to the town selectmen.
"From that point on, we notify the police, fire department and invite them to the parade, notify some of the other local organizations."
Napolitano has been helping to organize the event for 10 years, doing so to help keep this great tradition alive.
"It's just been a tradition on Memorial Day to honor the dead, especially those who lost their lives fighting wars," Napolitano said. "We want to recognize what they did, and I like to keep these traditions alive."
As the times have changed, it has become increasingly difficult to keep the parade going for Napolitano and company.
"It's a tradition that gets to be more and more of a struggle," Napolitano said. "In today's day and age, everybody's so busy."
Yet you wouldn't have been able to tell that on Monday. For a few brief hours, residents took time out of their busy lives to come together and thank the men and women who have so valiantly given their lives to keep this nation safe.