A line of cars, people and marching bands is set to parade through Waynedale to commemorate the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.
Set to begin Monday, May 31, at 9 a.m., the Waynedale Memorial Day Parade will start at the United Methodist Church, 2501 Church St., and then travel up Old Trail Road to the Prairie Grove Cemetery, where parade participants will hold a ceremony to honor veterans. The event usually lasts roughly an hour or so.
Sponsored and organized this year by the local AmVets post No. 33, the parade isn’t just a celebration of veterans past and present, but a chance for Waynedale residents to gather for a common cause, said AmVets (American Veterans) Post Commander, Joe Stockman.
“It really brings the people of Waynedale together,” Stockman said. “It gets all the neighbors out together and united.”
Sponsorship and organization of the event rotates each year between AmVets, the V.F.W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and the local American Legion Post, Number 241. This year, the AmVets post is in charge.
Marching in the parade will be dozens of private citizens, many driving golf carts, police cars from the Fort Wayne Police Department, fire trucks from the Fort Wayne Fire Department, and a local Boy Scout troop. The big, back 40 & 8 locomotive, driven by members of the local American Legion, will also be chugging down the parade route, periodically blasting its train whistle.
The Wayne High School (New Tech) marching band will be tracing the path, playing patriotic tunes as they step through Waynedale.
If past parades are any indication, hundreds of people will crowd along Old Trail to watch, either standing for a better view or planting their lawn chairs on the sidewalk for a more comfortable viewing experience.
“A lot of people come out and really appreciate what it means for them and their families,” said AmVets Financial Officer, Mark Resore.
The phalanx of people and vehicles will set up in the church parking lot at about 8 a.m., Stockman noted. From there, the parade will move out Church Street, then travel north up Old Trail Road, creeping up the Waynedale thoroughfare all the way to Prairie Grove Cemetery, 6312 Old Trail.
Once there, parade organizers will hold a ceremony to honor veterans that will include a speech by Dave Mcafee, past AmVets commander, and the playing of “Taps” on a bugle by a Wayne High School student.
The local AmVets post, which comprises more than 250 members, has its local headquarters just behind the Waynedale Library, at 6620 Koester Drive.
Resore said the event isn’t just a chance to honor our fallen service members, but to bring together all the citizens of Waynedale.
“It feels like this is one of those things that a small community like Waynedale needs right now,” Resore said, “This is something to celebrate those who gave their lives for our country, and it’s a great honor.”