Will Memorial Day parade in Cedar Grove be cancelled or converted?

Cedar Grove officials are entertaining the idea of either canceling or changing the township’s annual Memorial Day parade.
At a Monday evening council meeting, councilman Joseph Chiusolo voiced his opinion to end Memorial Day parades from here on out.
“The way that our celebration used to be is that we went to the VFW, we had a service, we had speeches by the people, and from there we had actual military people marching in front of the townspeople who were lined up on Pompton Avenue. We don’t have that presence anymore,” Chiusolo said.
But not all council members were in favor of the suggestion.
Councilman Peter Tanella, who is also running for the Essex County Executive seat in November, was among the first to state his position on the matter.
“Cancelling the parade is not an option,” Tanella said. “I remember being a part of the parade when I was a child. It’s important for kids to march and join in through different organizations, and teams and whatnot. It’s something they look forward to. I know I did.”
For the parade, the township spends up to $5,000 for police overtime, celebratory groups such as bands, flags to hand out to the community, and so forth. With next year’s municipal budget in mind, and the lack of military presence in Cedar Grove, councilmen Chiusolo and John Zunic agreed that a parade was not necessary.
As a longtime tradition in the township, the parade has gone from memorial services and speeches to a mere town celebration, according to Chiusolo. “Since our VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) has become almost non-existent, there’s less and less participation. We’re spending a little less than $5,000 a year, and sadly enough, there is no military station for the VFW, for the former members of the armed forces, or even current members of the armed forces.”
However, Mayor Robert O’Toole and Tanella said they’d rather improve the parade to tailor it more towards the “true meaning of Memorial Day.”
The council closed the Memorial Day discussion by assigning Tanella and Deputy Mayor E. Romeo Longo to a subcommittee that would come up with proposals to enhance the parade. They were tasked with presenting those findings at the next council meeting, scheduled for July 1 at 7 p.m.
“Suggestions will be taken into consideration and analyzed. We’ll be contacting neighboring communities for ideas and bringing our findings back to the council,” Township Manager Thomas Tucci said. “Personally, I will do everything in my control to ensure that cancelling the parade doesn’t happen.”


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