By Kenny Tompkins
Niagara Falls Councilman
Now that winter is over in Niagara Falls, planning for the 2017 Community Memorial Day parade has kicked into high gear.
The date is set for Saturday, May 27, at 10 am.
We’ll start at City Market and march down Pine Avenue to the Niagara Falls Veteran’s Memorial.
Last year if you recall, we pulled together a 70-unit parade in a matter of weeks following an announcement that it would be canceled. This year’s event has been several months in the making, as we’ve worked on gathering the funds needed to pay for bands and expenses, while inviting groups and others to be part of this parade to honor those who gave all for our freedoms.
We are pleased to partner with the Kiwanis Club of Niagara Falls who has helped as our treasuring body as well as supporting our committee’s every step.
What many people don’t realize about the Community Memorial Day Parade is that it’s a community-driven event. Taxpayers’ funds are not used. It’s strictly sponsorships. The volunteers come from the city itself—residents who want to see this parade succeed. These people put together marketing materials, make calls to sponsors, and help secure units. The day of the parade will bring even more people together who will help with checking in units, serving as parade marshals, and collecting supplies for troops.
I never imagined before last March that I would be organizing a parade. However, my wife, Terry, is the proud daughter of a World War II veteran. Her heart sank at the idea of the parade being canceled. In fact, every ounce of effort we put into this event, we thought about Terry’s dad and how he must be looking down proudly at what this team accomplished.
The work is worth the effort. When I saw people lining Pine Avenue, cheering for the World War II veterans who were honored as grand marshals, I was honored myself to be part of it.
I proudly possess a picture of Mr. Dick Lacey, a WWII veteran who was riding in a Model T Ford, beaming as he waved to the crowd.
Last year, people worked together, regardless of party affiliation or any other factors that might normally divide us, to make sure this parade honored our veterans. The parade represents the best of Niagara Falls—our residents’ spirit and passion for those who’ve fought for freedom.
If you would like to be part of, or help out in the parade, please contact me at Kenny.Tompkins@yahoo.com. We welcome sponsors, units, volunteers, veterans (especially World War II), essay contestants, and supplies for our drive for the troops.
Come be a part of the community.