A tribute to Blake Snyder, a Godfrey native, and police officer who died in the line of duty, was featured at the Alton Memorial Day Parade. (Photo by Dan Brannan)Alton Memorial Day Parade Marshal Cecil Wade. (Photo by Dan Brannan)ALTON - The Alton Memorial Day Parade had another spectacular salute to deceased and living veterans with America’s red, white and blue showcased throughout by young to old.

This marked the 150th Alton Memorial Day Parade and it started at Alton Middle School, located at 2200 College Ave., and it continued east toward Washington before turning south onto Edwards, back east toward Main, onto College again and ultimately to the Alton City Cemetery by way of Elizabeth Street.

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At the parade's conclusion, a ceremony for the fallen was held at the cemetery. Cecil Wade, a Vietnam veteran from Wood River who was recently honored with a belated Purple Heart after a long wait, was the parade marshal.

Don Huber, a representative from East End Improvement Association, said the Memorial Day Parade has such a deep-rooted tradition in Alton.

“People still meet at certain street corners, then go to the parade,” he said. “This parade is a little more relaxed than the Halloween Parade. People are pretty focused on what is important today, veterans who died, and that makes it a different purpose and much more important than most of our parades.”

Huber said two of the most touching parts of this year’s Memorial Day Parade were the recognition of Blake Snyder, a Godfrey native, who was shot and killed as a police officer in St. Louis, and Cecil Wade, the parade marshal. Wade, of Wood River, and a Vietnam veteran, waited years and years for his Purple Heart, which he received in the past year at Scott Air Force Base.

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“Cecil Wade is a Patriot Guard member and they escorted him with most in front and some people behind,” Huber said. “That was pretty neat. I think he really enjoyed having his buddies with him. The Patriot Guard has a great group of guys who do so much to support the community.”

The Upper Alton Business Association, East End Improvement Association and the Optimist Club work together to make the parade a success each year, Huber said.

“Everybody always seems positive with the Memorial Day Parade,” Huber said. “I have been with it 15 years or so and I remember it raining only once. It is usually a beautiful day to have the parade on Memorial Day.”

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