"I was all set up to entertain a bunch of friends and neighbors at my house," Hartshorn said. "I live only six blocks from the parade route. So I went out and bought plenty of hot dogs, soda and beer."
However, when Hartshorn awoke last Monday morning and looked to the skies to see the torrential rains pouring down, he knew his day in the sun was history.
"It just wasn't meant to be," Hartshorn said.
In fact, township officials already had the wheels in motion before the first raindrop fell Monday. They anticipated the soaking rain by making important cancellations the day before.
"[Parade liaison] Chuck Barone was in contact with everyone by Sunday night," said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner. "By then, we heard the reports and knew it was going to rain or at least, there was a 90 percent chance. So we started to call the bands and the performers to cancel."
Added Turner, "When we woke up and saw that it was pouring and wasn't going to stop, we knew we had to cancel the whole parade. The consensus was overwhelming with everyone involved. There was no way we could march in that downpour, especially given with the various children's groups and the veterans. It just didn't work out."
So after the decision was made to cancel the parade - only the second time in the last 30 years that the parade was canceled due to the weather - the parade committee had to do some quick thinking to still give Memorial Day its proper due.
They decided to move the ceremonies that were scheduled to be held at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Boulevard East at the closing of the parade inside to the Weehawken High School gymnasium.
More than 250 people attended the ceremonies inside the gym. The Weehawken High School Marching Band performed. The Emerson High School ROTC Color Guard presented the Stars and Stripes. The Gold Star mothers were honored. Wreaths were presented to remember the fallen servicemen of each major war.
"Even though it was raining, it didn't dampen the spirits of the people who were there," Turner said. "The program went on as planned, only indoors. The spirit of the day was there. The honors and the tributes went forward."
Both of the Grand Marshals, namely Hartshorn and Gulf War veteran Paul Pizzuta, who was representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars, were honored in the ceremony. They didn't get the chance to head the parade, but they did get their place of prominence for their dedication and devotion to the nation's Armed Forces.
"We rolled with the punches," Hartshorn said. "We made the most of a bad situation. It was a great disappointment that the parade had to be canceled. I think everyone was looking forward to it. But what can you do? There was a nice ceremony in the gym. We did our best to remember the day."
Turner said that the parade cancellation was disheartening to everyone who worked hard for months to properly plan the event.
"It's disappointing that it ended up being a rainy day," Turner said. "There was so much time and effort that went into it. I applaud their efforts. It would have been a great parade, but the ceremony turned out to be a nice one."