The Guttenberg parade will take place on May 26 at 1 p.m.
"We usually have 150 marching in the parade and 300-400 who view it," said Larry Giancola, Guttenberg Memorial Day committee. Giancola, a Vietnam War vet, said he expected more this year.
"We have two Boy Scout troops marching for the first time in 40 years, troop number 1 from the Trinity Reform Church in West New York, and a group from the local Seventh Day Adventist Church." The latter is similar to Boys Scouts but the members are known as Pathfinders.
Giancola said that 45 members of the Emerson High School Junior ROTC Marine Corps would also be on hand. The town of Guttenberg will host a unit of the 50th infantry combat team of the New Jersey National Guard.
"One soldier who just got back from Iraq will be there, and sometimes other veterans stroll in," Giancola said. "When there's a war on, of course you get more participation."
Mothers honored, too
Gold Star Mothers are the mothers of men and women who have been killed in the line of duty.
This year, according to Giancola, Mary Carvill of Carlstadt, mother of Army Sergeant Frank Carvill of the Army National Guard will be honored. Her son died on June 4, 2004, in Iraq. Giancola said that 3,000 members of the New Jersey National Guard have been activated for service in Iraq and will be leaving around June 11 for Fort Bliss, Texas, where they will undergo advanced training for deployment to Iraq in September.
"Each year we honor a Gold Star Mother from New Jersey," Giancola said. "We have enough for five or six years."
The parade will be followed by a service at the Veterans Monument on 71st St. and Boulevard East. Clergy will participate in a blessing of the troops. There will also be a special remembrance of the Battle of the Bulge, which was waged in December of 1944.
Union City steps off
Union City's Memorial Day parade was held on May 22 at 5 p.m. The parade, held in collaboration with the Union City Board of Education, proceeded south on Bergenline Avenue, turned east on Second Street and ended on New York Avenue and Second Street.
Following the parade, there was a ceremony and family festival on New York Avenue between Paterson Plank Road and Second Street. There were free hot dogs, soda, rides, and activities for kids.
"For years we hadn't been doing the parade," said Lucio Fernandez, Union City commissioner of public affairs. "This is the third year it's been reinstated. The administration thinks it's super important to honor our veterans who lost their lives to assure our freedom."
On a personal note, he added, "I'm Cuban born and came to this country from a poor family. I know what this country has done for my country and myself. Veterans risked their lives defending our way of life."
Ferndandez said that a lot of participants were expected this year. "This was the last year that Emerson High School and Union Hill marched separately," he added. "Next year they will become one high school in one facility."
Fernandez was referring to the new high school now being built on Kennedy Boulevard.
Other participants, according to Fernandez, included city departments such as public works and parks, as well as two rigs from the fire department, the fire chief, three patrol cars from the sheriff's department, a county armored vehicle, ROTC cadets, a color guard, two high school bands, cheerleading squads, and clubs, including Key Club and the National Honor Society.
West New York alters the route
The West New York parade, sponsored by the cultural affairs division, will assemble at 5:30 p.m. on May 26 at 67th Street on the west side of Bergenline Avenue. Step-off will be at 6 p.m.
"This year we changed the route a bit," said Commissioner of Public Works Alberto Rodriguez. "We want the route to pass in front of Memorial High School. It's fitting because the school was dedicated in honor of individuals in West New York who died in World War I."
The parade will pause there and then continue on.
"The high school and City Hall," he added, "are nicely decorated with bunting and flags that will remain up through July 4th."
After the parade, according to Rodriguez, there will be a ceremony in front of the monument on Boulevard East. "There will be hot dogs, food, and a DJ for the kids," he said. "It should be a nice evening."
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