Memorial Day will see the streets of Waynedale flush with cars, marching bands, police cars and more to honor our veterans, living and fallen.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 29, the Waynedale Memorial Day parade will form at the corner of McArthur Drive and Old Trail Road, according to Mike Cramer, a past vice-president and current member of AMVets (American Veterans) who is helping to plan the event.
Cramer said several groups will be marching in the parade, including the Wayne High School Marching Band, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, police cars, fire trucks, a group of bagpipe players and the AMVets motorcycle riders from Post #33.
Bringing up the rear of the marchers will be a crowd favorite, the big locomotive from the 40@8 group everyone calls “Blackjack.” The giant, black vehicle even features a loud, booming cannon it fires to help celebrate the holiday.
He said, everyone is welcome to join the festivities – even folks in golf carts – providing they check in at the beginning of the event so they know where they go in the line of marchers.
The cavalcade will continue down Old Trail, ending at the cemetery on Old Trail Road. Once there, the group will hold a ceremony honoring fallen veterans, and will replace the big U.S. and P.O.W. flags at the cemetery entrance, as well as placing smaller U.S. flags on the graves of vets buried there.
Cramer said the AMVet riders usually leave directly from the Waynedale event to go ride in the bigger Memorial Day parade that goes down Parnell Avenue in downtown Fort Wayne.
“And, if past parades are any indication,” Cramer said, “the Waynedale route will be lined with spectators up and down the parade route.” Kids especially love the event, he said, as several of the cars and floats toss candy to the crowds.
“The kids love it every year,” Cramer said, “because they get a bunch of candy.”
For Cramer, the parade is not just to honor our country’s fallen heroes, but it’s important for the community, as well.
“It is to honor the veterans that have passed, that’s true,” said Cramer, a 63-year-old Navy veteran who served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1973.“And also the Veterans that are still with us.
“But, it also means a lot to the people of Waynedale.”