Remembering Heroes: Millburn’s Memorial Day Parade

Millburn Memorial Day Parade 2024

MILLBURN – On Monday, May 27th, the Millburn Township community came together to honor and remember its fallen heroes during the annual Memorial Day Parade. With the participation of hundreds of marchers and spectators, the event was a heartfelt tribute to those who served and sacrificed for the nation.

The parade commenced at Millburn High School and proceeded down Millburn Avenue into Taylor Park. The procession included members of Guy R. Bosworth American Legion Post 140, school bands, including a new Millburn High School Trumpet Quartet, Scouts BSA Troops 17 and 19, Cub Scout Pack 17, and numerous other community associations. Spectators lined the streets waving flags and creating a patriotic atmosphere.

The parade culminated in a ceremony at Taylor Park, masterfully emceed by Eagle Scout Lukas Pilarski from Troop 17 and Ellie Park, First Class Scout from Troop 19. The Millburn Police Department served as the Honor Guard, while Girl Scout Sophia Van Roon from GSA Troop 20265 recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Troop 19’s quartet of Eliza Johnson, Leena Rao, Luna Angstadt, and Shayna Mishra performed a rendition of the National Anthem.

This year’s ceremony was particularly significant as it featured a segment honoring Chief Water Tender Francis Day. Commander Daniel Cannon of the Sons of American Legion Squadron 140 delivered a moving historical recount of Chief Water Tender Day’s bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—a day that forever changed the course of the nation.

“Imagine a tranquil Sunday morning, much like any other, suddenly shattered by the roar of fighter planes and the thunderous blasts of torpedoes. December 7, 1941—a date etched in the annals of history as a day that forever changed the course of our nation,” Cannon began. He detailed how the peaceful harbor of Pearl Harbor became a battleground as the USS Oklahoma and her crew faced chaos. Chief Water Tender Francis Day, a native of Millburn, was among those who displayed extraordinary courage, risking his life to save 15 fellow sailors within the ship’s flooded compartments.

As Cannon spoke, the audience was reminded of the immense sacrifices made by Chief Water Tender Day and his comrades. He emphasized the importance of remembering these heroes not just with words, but with deeds, ensuring their legacy endures.

(above) Raymond Wong Parade Grand Marshal

Adding to the significance of the ceremony, it was noted that Chief Water Tender Day’s body, buried among the unidentified for almost 80 years, was recently identified through the efforts of forensic scientists. In early April, his family flew to Honolulu where he received full military funeral honors.

Millburn Township Mayor Annette Romano presented a proclamation to Chief Water Tender Day’s niece, Lynne Werner, and her family. The presentation was a touching moment, emphasizing Day’s personal connection to Millburn and the lasting impact of his heroism. The proclamation highlighted his unparalleled bravery, dedication, and unwavering commitment to duty and honor.

This year’s Parade Grand Marshal, Raymond Wong, was introduced by Guy R. Bosworth American Legion Commander Burt Brown. Commander Brown highlighted Wong’s graduation from West Point Military Academy in 1999, his service to the country, and his continued dedication to the Millburn community as a past member of the Board of Education and involvement in the Millburn Flood Mitigation Committee. Wong delivered an address that resonated deeply with the community, speaking of the enduring spirit of patriotism that Memorial Day embodies and the importance of honoring those who have given their lives for their country.

Millburn’s Memorial Day Parade was a fitting tribute, ending with a closing prayer delivered by Rabbi David Levy and the playing of “Amazing Grace” by the Pipes and Drums of the Emerald Society. “This year’s parade was a powerful and respectful tribute to the sacrifices made by the nation’s heroes, such as Francis Day, and I am thankful for the gratitude of our Millburn community”, said Commander Brown.

Courtesy photos