Retired Army Colonel to lead Lawrence Memorial Day parade

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Retired U.S. Army Colonel Charles J. “Bud” O’Brien will lead the Lawrence Township Memorial Day parade as its grand marshal when the marchers step off May 25, according to Lawrence Township officials.

In his role as Memorial Day Parade grand marshal, O’Brien will be front and center of the parade when it kicks off at 10 a.m. from the Lawrence High School parking lot. He was chosen to lead the parade by the Lawrence Township Patriotic Committee.

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The parade will follow its traditional route on Princeton Pike to Darrah Lane and Birchwood Knoll, before turning onto Oaklyn Terrace and into Lawrence Township Veterans Park. The Memorial Day ceremony will be held immediately after the marchers reach the park.

Free hot dogs and water will be served by the Lawrence Township Recreation Advisory Committee after the ceremony.

Lawrence Township residents can line the parade route and watch as local veterans’ groups, military units, marching bands, school children and community groups march to Veterans Park.

O’Brien, who lives in Lawrence Township, was a career U.S. Army officer and served for 29 years. He was commissioned as an army officer upon graduation from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont in 1963. He earned numerous medals, including two Legion of Merit awards, three Bronze Stars, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

He served in Germany, Vietnam and Cambodia in roles of tank company commander, aide-de-camp to a U.S. II Field Force commander and provincial operations adviser. He also commanded the Third Battalion, Thirty-Fifth Armor, First Armored Division and led his unit on the former East German/Czech border.

O’Brien was the U.S. Army’s first liaison officer to the Israel Defense Forces. He served as the chief of Public Affairs for the Sixth U.S. Army in San Francisco, and wrapped up his career as the U.S. Army senior adviser to the New Jersey Army National Guard.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Army, O’Brien taught in the English Department at The Hun School of Princeton. He was the English Department chairman for five years.

The Memorial Day parade honors the men and women – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines – who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid with their lives in service to the United States, officials said.

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