Saratoga Springs shows it still loves a parade (with photo gallery)
Large crowd cheers event organized by resident
SARATOGA SPRINGS An enthusiastic crowd gathered Monday to cheer for the parade that nearly didn’t happen.
Veterans groups that normally plan the parade said the attendance was dwindling and money was tight. They canceled the event, but a resident launched a Facebook campaign to raise funds and organized the entire event in about a week.
Broadway was lined with residents, and while other local parades draw far more people, every piece of curb was claimed by the time the parade stepped off at 10 a.m.
Resident Jason Mitchell, who brought his family to watch, said it was “unconscionable” that the parade nearly folded.
His wife, Rachel, added that they use the parade to teach their children “what Memorial Day really stands for.”
Their 6-year-old son still has a few lessons to learn: he said his favorite part was the candy thrown by marching soldiers.
Others came looking for veterans to cheer on a day intended to remember the sacrifice of young soldiers in every war.
“I was searching for a parade,” said Clifton Park resident Ann Murtha. “I know this was last-minute. I think it’s great.”
Her brother served in Vietnam, her father in World War II and her grandfather in World War I. With such a family history, Murtha said she wanted to celebrate today’s soldiers.
“People don’t realize what the service members go through,” she said.
Murtha wasn’t the only one looking for a parade. While the curbside spots were claimed by children, many elderly watchers gathered along the edge of the sidewalk to clap their hands gently as the soldiers marched by.
Marilyn Trumbull made her way to the parade slowly, using a walker, and sat alone under the shade of a tree to watch.
“I love a parade, even if I have to be here alone,” she said. “In memory of those who have sacrificed their lives.”
Her brother, a paratrooper, died during the invasion of Sicily in World War II. She saw the parade as a way to remember him, but she said Memorial Day is usually not taken literally anymore.
“I’m not even sure [the parade-watchers] realize how many young men and women lost their lives, but they too love a parade,” she said. “I just love how everybody has turned out this year. I think it’s really well-attended.”
Veterans groups had said their members were getting too old to march, but that didn’t seem to be a problem Monday: Young Navy soldiers and Marines marched while older veterans drove classic cars and piloted a biplane float.
A group of retired Veterans for Peace also marched and got just as much applause as the younger soldiers.
Resident Harry Gregory, who cheered on all the veterans, said he’s hoping for peace.
“The problem is that we’re still over there,” he said. “I’d prefer it to end. Much prefer it.”