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Friday, June 14, 2024

Memorial Day Parade Marches Under Sunny Skies

Grand Marshal Paul Avery. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

Memorial Day was observed by Blairstown and its surrounding communities under sunny skies May 29th with the temperature holding just a bit below sweltering.

Unless, of course, you just marched two miles under that sun.

Members of the Givens-Belet American Legion Post 258 lead the parade. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

The parade, hosted by the Givens-Belet American Legion Post 258, kicked off at 1 p.m. following a solemn ceremony at the Cedar Ridge Cemetery at noon. This year, the parade and ceremony honored the 20th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This year’s grand marshal was Paul Avery, who served as a helicopter crew chief preparing helicopters for the 1st Air Cavalry and medivacs at Ben Hua Airbase in Vietnam, frequently under enemy fire. In addition, he logged more than 200 jumps with the Army Skydiving Team including a 10,000th-jump from a CH-47 Chinook chopper for Armed Services Day.

Blue Star Mothers of North Warren, military moms who support each other, as well as active-duty service members, veterans and their families. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

After the parade, all attendees and participants were invited to Footbridge Park to celebrate the lives of those lost fighting for our nation.

“If you ask most veterans or those on active duty, they will likely admit that if they perished in battle, they would like for everyone to remember them with a glass raised and with a smile on their face,” according to Post 258. “We have, for the past 77 years in Blairstown, honored our fallen in both spiritual, as well as jovial manners.”

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.