Memorial Day 2023: What town has the oldest parade? Which city has the biggest parade?
The US will mark Memorial Day on May 29 this year. This holiday honors military personnel who’ve lost their lives in action, and dates back over 150 years.
Memorial Day is typically celebrated in the US on the last Monday of May each year to honor and remember the men and women who have died while serving in the military.
The origins of the holiday can be traced back to the aftermath of the American Civil War. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was established as a time for the country to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers and pay tribute to their contributions.
Memorial Day day-long events
Memorial Day is marked by various activities and traditions such as memorial ceremonies, observing a minute of remembrance, and planting flags on graves.
Parades are a highlight of the holiday, and there seems to be some disagreement as to which town held the oldest one.
The longest-running Memorial Day parades
According to the U.S. Veterans Magazine, the Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day parade held in Ironton, Ohio, is “recognized as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the nation, beginning all the way back in 1868. It adds that “the oldest (and first) Memorial Day parade in the country was held a year earlier in Doylestown, Pennsylvania”.
However, according to Doylestown Post, “Since 1868 Doylestown, Pennsylvania has held annual Memorial Day parades which it claims to be the nation’s oldest continuously running.” It goes on to say that the parade in Rochester, Wisconsin, predates Doylestown’s by one year.
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The biggest Memorial Day parades
There is also no consensus on which city holds the largest parade. The U.S. Veterans Magazine says that both the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens, New York, lay claim to being the biggest Memorial Day parade in the country.