Florence’s 152nd Memorial Day parade a quiet affair during pandemic

  • Jennifer Shea, of Northampton, waits for the start of the Memorial Day parade in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. She was one of few spectators who attended since the parade wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a respiratory therapist at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Memorial Day parade in Florence, only cars this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, makes its way down North Main Street toward Park Street Cemetery, Monday. Few spectators attended since the parade wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jack Miller, from left, Sherry Grabon, Tom Pease and Liz Cummings, who are members of Florence VFW Post 8006 and the post’s Ladies’ Auxiliary, walk to the veterans memorial followed by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Miller played taps. Pease is the commander of the post, Grabon is a past state president and Cummings is the incoming president. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Joe Coll, from left, Alan Guditis and Darlene Guditis, who are members of the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Company C, walk to the veterans memorial during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz places a wreath at the veterans memorial during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz places a wreath at the veterans memorial during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Memorial Day parade in Florence, only cars this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, makes its way down North Main Street toward Park Street Cemetery, Monday, May 25, 2020. Few spectators attended since the parade wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tom Pease, a Vietnam War veteran who is the commander of Florence VFW Post 8006, fires gun salutes during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brian Joyce sings the national anthem with his daughter during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Memorial Day parade in Florence, only cars this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, makes its way down North Main Street toward Park Street Cemetery, Monday, May 25, 2020. Few spectators attended since the parade wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • A group gathered during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020 to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jack Miller of Goshen, who is a member of Florence VFW Post 8006, plays taps during a Memorial Day ceremony at Park Street Cemetery in Florence, Monday, May 25, 2020. The ceremony followed a car parade to the cemetery. The event wasn’t publicized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 5/25/2020 12:11:41 PM

They wore stars and stripes, military uniforms and face masks. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Memorial Day parade in Florence was a quiet affair, featuring a convoy of cars driving along the normal route through the center of town, as well as some scattered spectators.

It was quite a different scene than the one in 2018, which marked the 150th Memorial Day parade in Florence and boasted a longer parade route, nearly 1,500 marchers and a fighter jet flyover.

This year, no one spoke at the event, which started at 8 a.m., though there was a prerecorded celebration. Those in attendance Monday morning — including the mayor, who laid a wreath at the veterans memorial in Park Street Cemetery — recited the Pledge of Allegiance and listened to taps on the lawn.

“It was definitely bittersweet not to have the community gathering to commemorate Memorial Day, which has been a long tradition in Florence every year, with people lining the streets,” said Mayor David Narkewicz. “But at its core element, I think veterans in Northampton just wanted to make sure we did some sort of ceremony to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice … to make sure that some kind of commemoration hap pened to carry on that tradition.” 




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