Days of Yore
Decoration Day Parade 1919 (45K)
Decoration Day Parade 1919
as recounted by

Bill Day

 

Decoration Day 1920 (66K)
Decoration Day Parade 1920

Remembering the Parade

Memorial Day is approaching.  The way the holiday is commemorated now is known, but it is interesting to know how things were done before World War I and immediately after that era, when the holiday was called Decoration Day.

Around 1916 the parade began at the Baptist Cemetery.  The line of march was up Main street, around town, back down Main street to the termination at the Artisans' Hall were the marching veterans were given lunch by the ladies of the D.A.R.

Henry D. Moore, astride a big horse, led the parade.  Next the Spanish American War veterans were in line, and those remembered were Lewis Hunt, Townsend Boyer, Mr. Cuthbert, Mr. Blaker, Mr. Kirkbride and Frank Wayne.

The Civil War veterans rode in Mr. Moore's black limousine.  Remembered are Billy Jones, Squire Moss and Mr. Davis.  Mr. Moore joined them when the years had passed for him to ride the horse, as did Mr. Oakley when he could no longer carry the flag behind the horse.

Lodges had floats representing their organizations.  The fire company in its parade blues always had a good turnout with its two little mascots in their uniforms

Before the parade services had been held at the Methodist and Baptist Cemeteries, with the graves marked with flags decorated with flowers.  A firing squad composed of members of the Junior Order of United Mechanics gave a three-gun salute and taps were then sounded.  Colonial Richardson was in command.

After the War American Legion Post 38 took over the day.  The members were resplendent in their red coats, white belts, and blue pants.  The service and social clubs had floats in the march.  Robert Tate Paul commanded the marchers and the firing squad.

Trips were made to Colestown Cemetery, Calvary Cemetery, and Harleigh Cemetery, beside the two burial grounds in Haddonfield.  There was a band with Harry Githens blowing taps down in the woods at the Baptist Cemetery.  The firing squad performed at all cemeteries visited.

Refreshments ware served to all veterans at Doc Barron's house before the lunch at the Haddon Fortnightly.

The remembrances of Charles Birney, a member of the Legion Firing Squad back in the early 1920's were a great help in the writing of this article.

The evening before the day a truck stood in front of the Legion Hall at the corner of Ellis street and east Kings highway.  All evening and far into the night until morning the townspeople appeared with loads of cut flowers for decorating the graves.

Vandalism was unthought of and no incident ever occurred.


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