By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Chuck Woodin, founder of Post 209, has decided to lead and organize the Forestville Village Memorial Day Tribute Parade, which will take place Monday, May 25 at noon.
The parade will begin with a Master of Ceremony presentation at Quinlan Veteran Park, on the corner of Central Street and Broad Street. The event will feature a wreath placement, a gun salute, a rendition of “Taps,” and a patriotic presentation
One message committee members hope to spread to the community is the true meaning of Memorial Day. *Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was made originally to honor Civil War veterans. In May of 1868, General John Logan officially proclaimed the holiday, making the third Monday of May ‘Decoration Day’ to honor those who served during the Civil War. During the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and thousands of participants decorated the 20,000 graves of the soldiers buried there. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday. (Source: http://www.usmemorialday.org.)
By 1971, Memorial Day became the official name of the holiday.
Woodin said it is important for Post 209 to help reintroduce the true meaning of Memorial Day.
“It’s a day to honor those who have given the ultimate supreme sacrifice to this country,” said Woodin.
Roland Lamothe, senior vice commander of Post 209 who also serves on the parade committee, said all it takes is five minutes out of the day (at 3 p.m.) to bow one’s head in respect to the men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice, adding that flags should be at half staff from sun-up to noon.
“This is the day we want to honor them,” said Lamothe, adding how important it is for children to learn the true meaning of the holiday. “It’s for a reason that we have these parades…to honor the vets who gave that sacrifice.”
Although led and organized by Dave Pasqualicchio for the past 15 years, the co-owner of Nuchies decided to step down from his role this year. Still serving on the committee, however, Pasqualicchio has served as a mentor for Woodin to ensure there is a smooth transition.
Pasqualicchio said he is happy with the new direction of the parade, which was in jeopardy until Woodin and other members of Post 209 decided to get actively involved.
“I’m so happy they’re going to continue it. I think we’re going to be in really good hands,” said Pasqualicchio.
In the past, Frank Owsianko, also known by the Forestville community as “The General,” ran the parade, said Pasqualicchio. After he passed on, Owsianko’s two sons took over the parade, and ran it for three years before handing it over to Pasqualicchio.
“Here it is 15 years later,” said Pasqualicchio.
Although the parade reached a high point in the early 2000s, Pasqualicchio said getting more participants became more challenging in the past five years.
“It kind of took a downward trend over the last five years,” said Pasqualicchio.
Woodin hopes to continue the hard work Pasqualicchio has put into the parade all those years. Next year, Woodin said the committee hopes to enhance the parade with more military vehicles and more participants, and to hold fund raisers before the annual event.
He added that the committee is already planning ahead for next year’s parade.
“The goal is always to enhance it and make it better,” said Woodin, adding how the parade would not be possible without sponsors. “The committee is going to be working year-round on this.”
“A parade like this only enhances what we’re trying to do in Forestville,” said Pasqualiccho, adding how the parade helps enhance the community’s identity.
Comments? Email lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO