West Chester trustees want Memorial Day parade to march on: What they’re saying

Credit: Greg Lynch

Credit: Greg Lynch

After the coronavirus sidelined Memorial Day celebrations last year, the West Chester Twp. trustees want to see the streets filled with flags and tributes to veterans who have given their lives again this year.

“I think that we need to honor our military and to let them know we still value their sacrifice,” Trustee Mark Welch said recently. “And we need to have our service at the cemetery. Because those are the kinds of things that bring us together as a community and we need that.”

He noted there was only a small ceremony last year, and the previous year’s parade was an not the same because of Cincinnati-Dayton Road work.

Memorial Day celebrations were canceled last year except for some virtual and limited attendance events because of coronavirus precautions.

Trustee Ann Becker said it is a day when a lot of people “stop and reflect and really think about it means to be an American” and she wants the township to have an evente.

“Everyone is an expert now at social distancing, wearing their masks, they understand their own comfort level with being out in the world,” Becker said. “A lot of people are vaccinated now, hopefully our older veterans have been vaccinated, so they won’t be in as much risk.”

The township is not the host of the annual parade and cemetery ceremony, as VFW Post 7696 is. Post Commander Jim Ericksen said officials there are still wading through the latest batch of health district restrictions before they make a final decision on the parade.

“We’re kind of running into some limitations with the new edicts that came out,” Ericksen told the Journal-News. “The old ones were removed, the new ones were put in place and we’re trying to discuss whether there is liability.”

He said they will hold at least a small “invitation-only sort of” ceremony at the West Chester Cemetery.

“There’s a lot of additional restrictions even though they lifted some they added new ones, and made it kind of awkward or made it difficult to run something without running afoul of one of the issues,” Ericksen said. “They say that outdoor events are allowed, and then they list a whole bunch of caveats that almost make them disallowed.”

Butler County Veterans Service Commission Executive Director Mike Farmer said as of now, the city of Middletown has decided to run their parade this year. The Butler County Memorial Day Parade that usually steps off in Hamilton has been cancelled, but there will be a ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Farmer said it time to have these “important events, that we don’t forget those who have served for our country and died.”

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