Remembering the Past: Elizabeth Memorial Day Memories

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by Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-I received these Memorial Day memories from reader William Frolich:

“Memories of Memorial Days in Elizabeth, and parades on North Broad Street, near the Sailors and Soldiers Monument”

“To some of us, the big event in May is Memorial Day and its traditional parade and services in honor of all the people who fought in the wars of our country Years ago, this day was known as Decoration Day when flags and bunting hung from every home and office, and flowers were laid on the graves of those who were no longer with us. The flowers were an honor started by the ladies of the South during the Civil War in memory of their fallen soldiers, and there were many graves to decorate.

It was an idea brought into the North by returning veterans, and gradually spread throughout the country, until it became a national Holiday. In the South the ladies had spread their flowers in September, but in the North the month of May seemed to be a better time, and for many years, before Congress meddled with our holidays, the Thirtieth of May was celebrated as Decoration/Memorial Day, even if it fell in the middle of the week.

Some of us can still remember the parades of the 1920s and 1930s, those years after the end of the World War, the “War to end all wars,” as we had been told. With no thought of another, greater conflict, we watched the last surviving veterans of the Civil War pass by in open cars. They were followed by a number of the still-able marchers who had taken part in the Spanish-American War of 1898, and behind them came the many young veterans of that war that had “saved the world for democracy.”

There will be other parades in the years to come, to honor newer veterans, and let us hope that someday there will be no need to honor new veterans, but only the heroes of the past.”

My thanks to Mr. Frolich for his Memorial Day information for my column.

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media P.O. Box 1061 Rahway, New New Jersey 07065


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