Westfield prepares for Memorial Day parade

Westfield Veterans Director Julie Barnes has help from students in the Westfield Technical Academy Woodworking Shop setting up the reviewing stand for the Memorial Day Parade. The shop created installed new platform flag holders students. Pictured with Barnes are Ava Harde, Yelizaveta Safitova, Ben Goyette, Rachael Cyrankowski, Bailey Ala, and instructor Matthew Gomes. (Don Wielgus Photo)

WESTFIELD- The annual Memorial Day Parade will kick off Monday at 10 a.m. near Mestek on North Elm Street in remembrance of those who gave their lives in defense of the country.

The City of Westfield’s second parade in just eight days will follow a route that will bring marchers south down North Elm Street and across the Great River Bridge. The parade will continue south towards Broad Street where it will turn right at the intersection of Broad Street and West Silver Street towards Parker Memorial Park across from Westfield Middle School. Once there, participants will take part in a Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m.. Staging for the parade will begin at 9 a.m. near the Mestek company property.

Once the ceremonies are over, marchers from American Legion Post 124 will then turn around and march the route in reverse until they get to the post home on Broad Street.

The Westfield Veteran’s Council and its Memorial Day Parade Committee have invited all previous participants to take part in this year’s parade. Unlike the recent Westfield 350 parade, the Memorial Day parade is meant to be solemn in nature. There will be no floats, commercial vehicles, dancing, acrobatics, or animals that take part on the route.

“There will only be city vehicles and veterans transport vehicles,” said Julie Barnes, director of Veteran’s Services in Westfield, “There will be no celebratory activities obviously because it is in memory of those who have passed away.”

Barnes said that there will be a total of 29 groups participating in the parade. Those include groups representing the branches of the military, Vietnam War veterans, emergency first responders, a gold star mother, and Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts, among others. Members of the City Council and the 350th Parade Committee will also be marching.

The Parker Memorial Park Ceremony will feature Cindy Lacoste, past commander of American Legion Post 124 and Master of Ceremony. State Rep. John Velis will also be a guest speaker at the ceremony. Velis is a U.S. Army Reserve Major and returned from a tour in Afghanistan last year. Mayor Brian P. Sullivan will serve as parade marshal.

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