Jamesburg Memorial Day Parade is oldest in New Jersey history


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JAMESBURG — More than 40 marching units will take part in the 133rd Jamesburg Memorial Day Parade on May 30.

The Jamesburg parade is the oldest Memorial Day parade in New Jersey, according to Commander Allan E. Brown of American Legion Star Post 127.

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The parade will begin at 10 a.m. sharp at Veterans Memorial Park in Jamesburg at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and East Railroad Avenue.

The surrounding areas of Monroe Township and Helmetta play a prominent role in the parade, with more than 50 percent of the marchers coming from those communities, according to information provided by Brown.

After the parade, a ceremony in Veterans Park will remember all military personnel who served in times of conflict. An antique cannon will be fired several times during the ceremony.

Post 127 spends almost an entire year planning and executing the parade and ceremony following the march, Brown said.

Refreshments will be provided for the public at the Jamesburg Firehouse and the Jamesburg Elks lodge.

In the Jamesburg area, the first formal observation of Memorial Day came after the official organization of Sumner Post No. 74, Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) on March 12, 1883, when local residents marched to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, Brown said.

The GAR and its affiliate, the Women’s Relief Corps, was a patriotic American organization formed by Union Army veterans to honor the dead and to offer care and support to distressed and needy comrades, their widows and orphans, Brown said.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because towns across America had been “decorating” graves of fallen Union soldiers since the later days of the Civil War. May 30 had been the traditional day of remembrance since 1868 because that date did not reflect any major battle in American history up to that time. More recently it has become a “Monday holiday.”

For more information, contact Brown at 609-662-7906.

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