The final announcement came last Friday, May 15, that the annual Waynedale Memorial Day Parade would not be held this year after speaking to organizers at American Legion Post 241, VFW Post 1421 and Amvets Post 33. Each year, the three veterans’ organizations take turns organizing the parade as well as the Memorial Day ceremony in Prairie Grove Cemetery. Held on Memorial Day, the event traditionally lines Old Trail Road with thousands of residents and visitors for the parade in honor of and to mourn the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The parade seemed to still be in consideration until the final announcement because the veteran’s organizations were not operating and therefore organizers of the parade were not meeting as normal, since the Governor’s COVID-19 shut-down of non-essential businesses. After some discussion, according to American Legion Post 241 commander, Ken Holloway, the decision came down to three primary questions; whether they could motivate and coordinate the many volunteers and organizations of the parade to help and participate; what government restrictions there were and if they could hold event and if so, how they could even manage following the regulations; and the final primary consideration was are there other events being held like this and how are they keeping participants and guests safe. If any of these questions could not be solved, the whole thing had to be called off.
The big event may not be taking place, but organizers and volunteers will still be placing American flags in the cemetery as usual and doing what they can to support those who are in mourning of fallen armed forces members.
However, the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade was not the only event canceled in the Fort Wayne area. Among the many businesses still not open or not operating at full capacity as well as the many events which have been canceled, the F.O.E. 248 on Bluffton Road has indicated that they will not be holding their annual 4th of July celebration.
The Parnell Avenue Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony, sponsored by the Allen County Council of Veterans Organizations, was postponed and rebranded as a July 4 Parade in honor of Independence Day. Additionally, the Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum, located at 2122 O’Day Road in Fort Wayne, has also cancelled all gatherings at the pavilion and museum on Memorial Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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