Instead of the traditional ceremony in Tydings Park this November, the city of Havre de Grace will celebrate Veterans Day this year with a parade down Washington Street.
The parade on Nov. 11, which will begin at 11 a.m. at Hutchins Park and proceed to the Joseph L. Davis American Legion Post 47 on St. John Street, was approved 4-2 by the Havre de Grace City Council members at their meeting Monday night.
Council President David Glenn and Councilman David Martin voted against the parade. Glenn said he’s not opposed to the parade, but is concerned about it replacing the usual Veterans Day ceremony in Tydings Park.
“We feel like the Veterans Day and Memorial Day [events] are the exact same ceremony, the exact same,” Councilman Jason Robertson, an Army reservist, said.
Laying the wreaths at the monument in Tydings Park is a “wonderful thing,” he said, and in the character of what memorial Day is about “because it honors those who fought and died in the service.”
Veterans Day is a very different holiday, about celebrating veteran.
“We’re trying to differentiate between the two events because we want to make it clear we recognize the service of those who have gone on before,” Robertson said. “We also want to honor living veterans in some form or fashion. We thought a Veterans Day parade, because there isn’t one in the local area, might be a good way to do that.”
Glenn said he fears the backlash the city may get if the Tydings Park ceremony is canceled altogether. Instead, he suggested a parade with the Tydings Park ceremony afterward.
“It would give everybody a meeting place,” Glenn said.
He questioned whether the local VFW and other organizations that have been involved in the Tydings Park ceremony had been contacted yet about the change.
Robertson said the VFW is aware, but the other organizations are not. The Legion wanted to wait until the event was approved before making further contact.
With the approval, Robertson and other Legion members will host an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the American Legion hall on St. John Street to answer questions about the new Veterans Day event.
He invited all local American Legions, VFWs, any group that wants to march, to take part in the parade, and come to Monday’s meeting to learn more about what is planned.
Councilmember Casi Boyer agreed the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies get monotonous.
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“Celebrating the living is what we need to do when it comes to veterans,” Boyer said.