ALTON, IL - One e of the longest running Memorial Day Parades in the country did not disappoint this year. The Alton Memorial Day Parade went off without a hitch. It was first launched 3 years after the Civil War. Adrienne Reed watched from the sidelines, “I’m very thankful for the people who united together both black and white to know that freedom can result in the hearts of everyone,” said Reed.
It was the 152nd year for the event that honors those men and women who died serving our county. Parade Participant Matt Leleniewski, “I have several family members that passed away during the war. They fought-my grandpa, my uncle. I got an aunt that was in the service,” said Leleniewski.
About 50 different units took part.
“I think it’s important that way we can keep the life and the memories living on of those guys,” said Monte Gipson.
Veterans from World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were all on hand. No doubt some of them lost buddies in the violence of war. Firefighter Ben Hamberg from the Godfrey Fire Department drove one of the vehicles, “It means a lot. They gave everything so we could have today. We owe everything to them,” said Hamberg.
It was not completely a solemn occasion. The salute to troops who died for our county is also the kick-off of the summer season and what parade would be complete without sweet treats for the young people. Judy Morgan had a bag full of candy and treats, “The favorite thing I got was a popsicle.”