Source: MLive (view on mlive.com)
JENISON, MI — After nearly two years, spectators lined Baldwin Street in Jenison to watch as parade participants showed up in a festive red, white and blue fervor for Memorial Day.
Nearly 50 entries marched down the street to a packed, enthusiastic crowd the morning of May 31. The parade followed the traditional route, which started near 20th Avenue and ended at the Jenison Meijer.
The sentiment in the air from attendees was one of gratitude, as resident Abby Jefferson said being able to bring her family out along the curb was a welcomed experience.
“We were excited to kind of come out and do something fun with some family” she said. “Also, just Memorial Day, remember what it’s all about. It was really fun to see all the people in the parade and just easy. Then also the fire trucks and then the flyover with the planes was really fun.”
The scene of the parade was a foreign one to others.
Ruth Baar, who attended with her family, said it had been nearly two years since she had a chance to watch the parade, which her husband usually participates in. She and her family hope that the area’s usual Fourth of July festivities will follow suit.
“It feels good to have a parade in Jenison,” she said. “Let’s hope Fourth of July goes on too.”
As decorated cars drove down the road and walking participants lobbed candy to excited onlookers, the scene felt familiar despite the lack of similar celebrations since the pandemic began.
The scene felt like a return back to normalcy, said spectator Allie June, who attended with her husband and their kids. As the weather warms up and events return, she said the looming excitement of a more familiar summer was something they were looking forward to.
“It was nice to get out of the house and do something with people, safely,” she said. “It felt very normal.”
This is how Memorial Day should be celebrated, said Lt. Ryan Minnick, who led the parade along with his fellow Civil Air Force representatives. After last year’s cancellation, seeing the support for those who served the country made for a parade to remember.
“It felt good marching in the parade today to honor (those) that served and hasn’t been able to come home to their families,” he said. “It really was a welcomed feeling because in 2019, we did multiple parades, and not having it last year, it felt like we couldn’t honor the veterans the way we did in 2019. (The crowd) was a lot more than I was expecting. It was a really great turnout.”
By Nick Moran | firstname.lastname@example.org