Jeri Lewis said taking over as chairman of Middletown’s two parades was “a no-brainer” and a way to pay tribute to her family’s lengthy military history.
Lewis, who called herself “an Army brat,” said her father and other relatives served in the military, so when Deb Morrison and Joe Snider, who directed the parades for the last 19 years, stepped down, Lewis volunteered to take over.
“A way to honor everyone in the military,” she said when asked about her interest.
FIRST REPORT: Someone must step up to continue Middletown parades
The Memorial Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. May 29 and leave from Smith Park and end at Woodside Cemetery & Arboretum. Line-up starts at 9 a.m.
The route is just the opposite for the Fourth of July Parade. The parade starts at 10 a.m. July 4 and when it ends at Smith Park, an awards presentation will be held. The theme of the parade is “Unity In America.”
Lewis said parades provide “a sense of community,” and that’s something that Middletown does well.
“We are one community,” Lewis said.
The grand marshal for the Memorial Day event is Cecil Daily, 92, who served during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Daily served in the Merchant Marines, U.S. Navy and Air Force, according to Lewis. He entered the service in 1943 and retired in 1970.
During World War II, a cargo ship was sunk, and it was mistakenly reported that Daily was on the ship, according to Lewis.
It was reported that everyone on the ship died and their families were notified. But Daily wasn’t on that ship, Lewis said.
Daily and his wife, Melba J. Daily, have four children, three daughters and one son.
Those interested in participating in either parade can register on its Facebook page, Parades Middletown, or email Lewis at JLewis@kingswell.us.