Even while the nation has been at war, Hamilton’s Memorial Day Parade participation, like others across the country, has been dwindling in recent years.
Parade chairman Michael Cupp hopes to reverse that trend this year, beginning with a meeting Thursday, March 16, for prospective parade participants. The gathering will happen at 6 p.m. in Hamilton’s City Council Chambers on the first floor of the city building at 345 High Street.
Memorial Day remembers those in the military killed in service of their country, while Veterans Day celebrates all who served in the armed forces.
Cupp is putting out the call to veterans organizations, scouting groups, high school bands, sports teams and others who want to mark the day by marching.
“The more the merrier,” Cupp said. “It seems like in the past few years, the parade gets smaller and smaller.”
“I think it would be really good to have a big parade,” said Caroline Bier, a retired Marine chief warrant officer 3 who served from 1993 to 2013 who now is executive director of the Butler County Veterans Service Commission. “I think anytime you can get the community involved in something positive, it’s good.”
“I think that unless it affects you personally — in other words, being a veteran or in the family of a service member — unfortunately, it’s easily forgettable by the general public,” Bier said. “Sometimes people are so wrapped up in their cell phones and their own lives, they just forget.
“In fact, today, we just increased our presence in Syria,” Bier said last Thursday. “They sent some Marines to Syria, it’s an artillery battery, because now they’re increasing the support in Syria.”
One reason for the disconnect between the general public and ongoing combat may be that images of flag-draped coffins returning from combat zones are no longer televised, she said.
“I’m not saying that’s a good thing, or a bad thing, but when you don’t have something shoved in your face, it’s easy to forget that it’s happening,” she said.
Bier praises Butler County’s Boy Scouts, who each year across the county mark hundreds of veterans’ graves with flags for the holiday.
People with questions about the event can call Mayor Pat Moeller at 513-844-8515 or Cupp at 513-967-5099.