By GLORIA STRAVELLI
METUCHEN – Although the observance is still curtailed by the pandemic, the Borough of Metuchen will again mark the day that honors the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. military – as it has for more than 90 years.
A “rolling” Memorial Day Parade led by the Metuchen Fire Department will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 31, according to Ellen Regan, who is in charge of 2021 Memorial Day events for the Metuchen Parade Commission.
“We are not hosting a parade this year, unfortunately because of COVID, so we’re going to be doing some things virtually.
“The fire department will ride through town along with the police, DPW and some emergency vehicles,” she said. “It’s similar to what they do for the holidays, where they ride through town, their lights on waving flags.
“To coincide with that we have the lawn signs. Hopefully people will go outside, stand on their lawns and as long as they are socially distanced, just wave their flags,” Regan said.
The commission’s red-white-and-blue patriotic lawn signs have been sprouting up throughout the borough as Memorial Day approaches.
“We created a lawn sign and they are being sold for $10 at the Farmers Market, which opens [May 22] from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Regan said. “The donation will cover the cost of the signs and any excess funds will be put toward future parades.”
The idea is for the red-white-and-blue signs to create a patriotic display in conjunction with the rolling parade.
Members of the Metuchen Parade Commission, in addition to Regan, are Patricia Lucas-Schnarre, who served as chair in 2020, Jamie Schleck, Lynne Mueller and Brendan Flynn.
The commission also sponsored a virtual student art contest at all the grade schools, Regan said.
A virtual gallery of the patriotic posters can be viewed on the Metuchen Arts Council site at www.metuchenartscouncil.com
“It’s posted and has been a true team effort because the arts council offered their site so that the posters could be submitted digitally,” Regan said, adding that some posters are displayed in shop windows. “And I am working this week to get the judges lined up. We will have two winners for grades first through sixth, because there are a lot more submissions in those grades and for the seventh and eighth grades there will be a winner in each of those. They’ll be announced next week.”
As it was last year, the annual parade is being pared down so as not to encourage crowds to gather along the route, Regan explained, and plans are still being finalized, including what other borough departments and emergency services will take part.
“We are making the most of what we can do,” she said.
The parade will again visit a limited number of local roadways and residents are encouraged to be outside to view the parade – while socially distancing.
The parade route had not yet been finalized as of May 20 and will be posted on the Metuchen Fire Department’s Facebook page prior to the event, she added.
“The route will be on Facebook next week, so people will know what streets they’re going down,” Regan said.
As in the past, at 11:30 a.m. on May 30, American Legion Fugel Hummer Post 65 will hold a Memorial Day observance with a wreath laying at Memorial Park where the parade will conclude. The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the borough’s Facebook page.