Crowd cheers parade’s return

JOHNSTOWN – Despite the rain and wind chilling onlookers to the bone, residents and patriots braved the conditions Friday for the return of the Memorial Day parade.

Parade attendees lined the streets, searching for cover in any doorway and over-arching structure they could find, cheering as local fire departments, police, Boy Scout troops and veterans marched down the streets of the city.

As the parade began, city fire engines – new and old – filled the streets. Crews from the department pushed a fire truck from 1867, while a member of the department tossed candy to people on the sidewalk.

Donna Morra of Brick, N.J., came up to spend time with her late husband’s cousins, who live in Mayfield.

“I love New York,” Morra said.

The city didn’t hold the parade in 2012 after former chief organizer and volunteer Ruth B. White began experiencing health problems. The 85-year-old White died June 28 at the Wells Nursing Home.

Aaron and Dawn Hill of Johnstown both braved the rain for a simple reason.

“We’re glad to have it back. We missed it,” Aaron Hill said.

Rich Calderwood of Johnstown was happy to come out and see the hometown parade.

“We don’t miss too many of them,” he said.

During the memorial service held after the parade, the Broadalbin VFW conducted a small presentation in honor of those who are missing in action or prisoners of war.

The presentation was a symbolic setting of a dinner table, with each piece representing a feeling about those who never came back and are still missing. A lemon for the sour feelings, salt for the tears that have been shed and a white tablecloth to represent the purity of the intentions of those men and women who went off to serve.

Joe Salamack of the Parade Committee thanked veterans for their service, as well as those who have not returned home.

“We here, and all over the country this weekend, pay tribute to you and your love of your country,” Salamack said.

Mayor Sarah Slingerland thanked the crowd for braving the weather to come to the ceremony.

“As a city resident, I hoped you enjoyed the parade, and for all those of you who are visiting our city tonight, we’re glad to present a parade for you,” Slingerland said.