The village of Florence is planning a large commemoration next Memorial Day, May 28, 2018, in honor of the 150th anniversary of what is the oldest, continuously-run Memorial Day parade in the United States.
The first parade was held in Northampton in 1868, just after the Civil War, and included the decoration of the graves of deceased service members in the Park Street Cemetery in Florence, a tradition that has continued every year since, regardless of weather.
Every year, the names of all the veterans who died in the past year in Northampton are also read. Local Girl Scouts bring flowers to put on graves in the cemetery.
In previous parades, more than 500 people have participated and thousands gather to watch along Route 9. This year, a planning committee is anticipating widespread attention due to the 150th anniversary and is planning for even more parade participants and community attendance.
Members of the public interested in participating or supporting the 2018 parade can call the office of Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services at (413) 587-1299 or can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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