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Wilmington’s Memorial Day Parade Marks Its 152nd Year

Post Date:05/24/2019 3:30 PM

  memorial day parade 2019

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki is pleased to support the annual efforts of the Wilmington Memorial Day Parade Committee to honor our nation’s deceased war heroes. The Mayor is pleased to share the following information from the committee about this year’s 152nd consecutive Memorial Day Parade to be held Thursday, May 30.
 
Wilmington’s Memorial Day Parade Marks Its 152nd Year
The oldest continuous parade in the United States will take place 
on Thursday, May 30 along the Delaware Avenue parade route
 
The Wilmington Memorial Day Committee invites the public—either as a participant or spectator— to attend Wilmington’s 2019 Memorial Day parade, the oldest continuous parade in the country. This year marks the 152nd consecutive observance of the traditional Memorial Day, May 30, in Wilmington.  
 
The parade will start on Delaware Avenue at Woodlawn Avenue at 6 p.m. Participants will march east along Delaware Avenue to the Civil War Monument at Broom Street, where those who died in the nation’s wars will be honored with a memorial service. 
 
This year’s guest speaker is John Riley, former interim CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and local historian.  Riley will speak about the heroic life and death of Wilmington resident James J. Connell, a graduate of St. Thomas Grade School, Salesianum High School and the U.S. Naval Academy, and a naval aviator during the Vietnam War. Connell’s aircraft was shot down over North Vietnam where he was held as a Prisoner of War. He died on July 15, 1966 at the hands of his North Vietnamese guards.
 
The oldest, continuous parade in the United States also has an interesting history. On May 5, 1868, Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) commander in chief General John Alexander Logan issued General Order #11, which established the Thirtieth Day of May as Memorial Day to honor those who had fallen during the War.  The GAR was the largest organization of Union veterans of the Civil War. That same year, a group of New Castle County citizens formed a Memorial Day Committee.  Through their efforts, the City of Wilmington began conducting ceremonies and activities on May 30 in compliance with General Logan’s Order.  Subsequent members of that original Committee have continued in the spirit and effort of the original members, honoring the nation’s war dead on May 30. The Committee feels it is important to pass on the tradition of honoring those who have given their lives for our country. For more information, visit:https://www.wilmingtonmemorialdayparade.com/

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