Johnstown hosts parade, ceremony for Memorial Day

JOHNSTOWN – Michael Haverly stood on East Main Street on Friday, enjoying pizza with his family before the Johnstown Memorial Day parade.

Haverly, of Johnstown, said he enjoys the small-city feel of the parades, which remind him of his childhood in Armonk, Westchester County.

“Everybody would turn out for the Memorial Day parade,” he said.

Wind and cool temperatures Friday evening did not scare people away from the parade. People lined East and West Main streets in the city, watching Boy Scouts, school marching bands and other participants.

Janine Bianco of Hagaman attended the parade to see her daughter play in the Broadalbin-Perth High School Band.

“And I like parades,” she added.

Marching bands from Johnstown, Gloversville, Mayfield, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville and Broadalbin-Perth high schools filled the streets during the parade, along with representatives from local fire and police departments.

Matt Doheny, who is making a bid for Congress, tossed candy to children during the parade. Representatives from Search Team 5-1 also took part in the parade, along with the U.S. Army Tribute Bike.

The night’s events concluded with a ceremony at the Charles Jenner Bandshell to honor military members who died in American wars, both domestic and foreign.

During the ceremony, city Councilman-at-Large Christopher Swatt spoke to the crowd about the holiday.

“Memorial Day is a special day for all Americans. Each [Memorial Day] we stop and pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, our lives, for their freedom,” he said.

Fulton County Historian Samantha Hall-Saladino spoke about the history of Memorial Day and what it means to celebrate the holiday.

“The day, unfortunately, has become more synonymous with the beginning of summer,” Hall-Saladino said. “… [The people] here recognize the importance of honoring more than 1 million Americans who gave their lives in the service of this country.”