The Memorial Day holiday is fast approaching and that means Waynedale streets will soon be filled with revelers, police cars, fire trucks, and marching bands.
Sponsored by, and created by local veterans’ organizations AmVets and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1421, the parade offers the local populace a chance to enjoy a moving show as well as the opportunity to honor military veterans, those who’ve passed and those still with us.
To be held on Monday, May 30 at 9:00 a.m., the parade will start in the parking lot of the Waynedale United Methodist Church, 2501 Church Street.
After leaving the church, the procession will head up Old Trail Road, continuing to the Prairie Grove Cemetery, located at 6312 Old Trail.
According to AmVets Commander, Joe Stockman, who is in charge of organizing this year’s event, a ceremony will then be held at the cemetery, honoring veterans past and present. That event will include a brief speech, the playing of “Taps,” and the decoration of veterans’ graves with small American flags.
Stockman said parade watchers can expect a long line of marchers, several Fort Wayne Police Department cruisers, Fort Wayne Fire Department trucks, civilian classic cars, as well as the Wayne High School marching band.
In fact, Stockman noted, organizers are still looking for additional vehicles to join the parade, so anyone willing to participate in the event should either show up at the church parking lot before 9:00 a.m., or call him directly at (260) 228-9197.
“You want to get there at least by 8:30 a.m.,” Stockman said, “That way, we can figure out where everybody is going.”
The parade’s Grand Marshall will be selected by VFW Post 421, which is co-organizing the event, Stockman noted.
AmVets and VFW Post 421 take turns sponsoring and crafting the parade, alternating one year to the next on who is in charge.
About two hours later, the city of Fort Wayne will hold its own Memorial Day Parade. That event will begin at 11:00 a.m., and will snake down Parnell Avenue, ending at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.
If past Waynedale parades are any indication, expect crowds of hundreds of locals to line the sidewalks and streets along the parade route, some standing for a better view, many others camped out in their lawn chairs for better comfort.
“We usually see hundreds, if not more people out watching this parade,” Stockman said.
The parade is not just an opportunity to honor those who’ve served the country, but a chance to get out and meet their fellow Waynedale residents, he explained.
“It’s a chance for people to get outside and show support for veterans, police, fire, and other first responders,” Stockman said, “They can come out and meet their neighbors.
“And it’s just good for the community and the country.”
Editor’s Note: For those who cannot be present at The Waynedale Memorial Day Parade, you can watch live and after the event on The Waynedale News Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Waynedalenews