ALTON - For the 155th time, dating back to the end of the Civil War, Alton will host the Memorial Day Parade in honor of our armed forces.
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The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30. It will begin at Alton Middle School and head up College Avenue toward Upper Alton.
This year there will be five parade marshals. Richard Wickenhauser (Marines), Alvin Roderfeld (Navy), Art Williams (Army), Harry Hill, and Jack Green. All five men are WWII veterans.
"We wanted to get as many World War II vets in as possible," Steve Schwartz, East End Improvement Spokesman, and Parade Committee Chairman said.
"We think that would be the greatest generation to get in."
There is a long-running Memorial Day parade in Pennsylvania, however, Schwartz believes Alton's to perhaps be the longest-running one ever.
East End Improvement will sponsor the parade as they have for the past eight years Schwartz says. East End Improvement has been sponsoring the Alton Halloween Parade since its inception in 1916.
The parade this year with have upwards of 50 participants including a wide variety of scouts, organizations, bands, and the crowd favorite Rolling Nobles.
Kicking the parade off will be a Civil War reenactment by the Alton Jager Guards. They will lead the parade off after the color guard with a small band after that.
The main goal of the parade however is to support veterans, and that’s what Schwartz says it’s all about.
"No matter what service you were in, no matter what time you were in, all veterans are extremely important,” Schwartz said. “This is one of the reasons we're here and why we call America free. I think we owe a lot to these men and women who have sacrificed.”