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Memorial Day 2024: What town has the oldest parade? Which city has the biggest parade?

Every year on the last Monday in May, the United States honors the members of the US Armed Forces that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.

Historical Memorial Day parades
Bonnie CashREUTERS

The US will commemorate Memorial Day 2024 on 27 May this year. The national holiday dates back over 150 years and honors the members of the US Armed Forces that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the nation.

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.

READ ALSO: Memorial Day 2024: When is it and what is it?

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.

READ ALSO: What is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

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.