Princeton to honor fallen with annual Memorial Day Parade


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Col. Bill Putnam will serve as parade grand marshal

The Memorial Day Parade serves as a reminder of the fallen men and women who died while serving their country.

Princeton’s parade will see residents and visitors line both sides of Nassau Street and wave American flags as parade groups make their one-mile parade journey on May 27.

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“Memorial Day is set aside to remember those that have sacrificed all, by giving their life in service of this country,” aid Kam Amirzafar, co-chair of Spirit of Princeton, which sponsors Princeton’s Memorial Day parade and ceremony. “The day is set aside to acknowledge, honor, and reflect on their loss and sacrifice.”

The parade, which will start at 10 a.m. on the corner of Princeton Avenue and Nassau Street, will makes its way to Monument Hall. Following the parade, a brief ceremony commemorating the fallen is set to take place at Monument Hall at 11 a.m.

Col. Bill Putnam, parade grand marshal, will deliver his remarks on Memorial Day during the ceremony.

“Col. Putnam is a local resident, who has had a long career in the military,” Amirzafar said. “For Memorial Day, I think it’s important to hear the thoughts of someone who has actually walked in the same boots and stood shoulder to shoulder with those fallen soldiers we are remembering.”

Putnam was commissioned at Tulane University in 1996 as a military intelligence officer. He has served military tours in the United Kingdom, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Arizona, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and North Carolina, according to the Spirit of Princeton.
Putnam participated in Operation Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom as a government contractor in support of the U.S. Army. Additionally, he served in a variety of leadership and staff positions in military intelligence assignments at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
He has earned the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (6 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Joint Commendation Medal (2 Oak Leaf Cluster), and the Army Commendation Medal.
In addition to the Army Achievement Medal, he has earned the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the NATO Medal (Afghanistan), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (Oak Leaf Cluster), and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

All veterans, active-duty military and reservists are encouraged to march in the parade.

Groups participating in the parade include the Princeton Police Department, Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, Princeton Fire Department, Princeton officials (Mayor Mark Freda and council members), MacGregor Pipe Band, American Legion Post 218, Operation Phoenix, and the Princeton Cranberry Chapter Sons of the American Revolution.

In addition, the Princeton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Westrick Music Academy, Princeton Freemason & Masonic Lodge 38, Crescent Shrine Mini Car Unit, Colonial Musketeers, Colonel Ogden’s First NJ Regiment, Trenton ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.), Boy Scout Troop 43, Princeton Girl Scouts, Princeton Little League, Burlington City Marching Band, Mercer County Chapter of Sunshine Foundation and British Cars of Bucks County.

Memorial Day is a national holiday, originally called Decoration Day, that takes place this year on Monday, May 29.

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