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Cranbury remembers fallen heroes on Memorial Day

Photo courtesy of Andrea Kane
Seton Hall Army ROTC Pershing Rifles Co. K-8 cadets lead the parade on May 30.

Remembering America’s fallen heroes, residents in Cranbury lined Main Street to honor the men and women, who have lost their lives in service of the United States.

On Memorial Day, Cranbury’s Memorial Day Parade and brief ceremony on May 30 returned once again after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Planning for the parade typically begins in March with invitations going out to local community organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Library Foundation, Woman’s Club of Cranbury, and to neighboring Fire Companies and Rescue Squads,” said Phyllis Johnson, who led the Cranbury Lions Club Memorial Day parade project.

She added that it is not a parade without bands.

“We usually have four that participate. This year because of COVID-19 one band could not make it. We hope they can participate next year,” Johnson said.

Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, is a national holiday to remember service members of America’s armed forces who died while serving the country.

Cranbury’s annual Memorial Day Parade is organized by the Cranbury Lions Club and has occurred since 1958.

“Everyone was especially excited that the parade was back this year. Some groups were reaching out to the Lions Club parade coordinator as early as January and February asking if the parade would take place,” Johnson said. “The Cranbury Lions Club hosts the parade but gets a lot of assistance and support from Cranbury Township, Cranbury Police Department, Public Works, and residents. Lions Club members can be seen in the yellow Lions vest at the line-up area and in the parade.”

The Lions raised money to help pay for the parade by selling lottery tickets before and during the parade. This year’s award winners were first prize: Bonnie Seward, second prize: Ken Irons, and third prize: Bill Wurfel, according to the Cranbury Lions Club.

The parade route went from South Main Street and Cranbury Station Road and proceeded north on Main Street to Plainsboro Road, then Maplewood Avenue, Park Place East and then south on Main Street, ending at the Cranbury Fire House and Memorial Park.

Participants in the annual parade included members of the Cranbury Township Committee, Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14), Seton Hall Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Pershing Rifles Co. K-8 cadets, the Cranbury Fire Department, Scouts BSA Troop 52, Cranbury Historical & Preservation Society and members of St. David’s Episcopal Church.

In the 2019 parade, for the first time, a military color Guard headed the parade. Four members of Company K-8 of the Pershing Rifles at Seton Hall University volunteered their time to lead the parade.

This year the parade tradition was resumed, and Company K-8 again provided a color guard to lead the parade along with an additional five members of Company K-8 who marched in the parade, according to the Cranbury Lions Club.

The Pershing Rifles is a military honor society located on colleges that have Reserve Army Training Corps (ROTC) programs.

A post parade ceremony followed in Memorial Park, where the town honored and recognized not only veterans and the fallen, but active duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cranbury Boy Scout Troop 52 walks in the Memorial Day Parade on May 30.
Cranbury Fire Department marches in Memorial Day Parade in Cranbury.
Cranbury firefighter Bob Allen (center) drives fire truck on Main Street.
Scouts BSA Troop 52 walk together during Cranbury's Memorial Day Parade.
Members of the Cranbury Township Committee wave to resident lined along Main Street.
Cranbury officials stand with a banner celebrating the township's 325th year.
Tom Ingegneri (left) drives veteran Henry Murphy (right) as the Cranbury Memorial Day Parade proceeds along Main Street in Cranbury.
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