Memorial Day parade offers new thrills, old friends

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Perfect weather highlights hour-long march up Route 82 as thousands look on

By Mike McGann, Editor,

Civil War reenactors fire as part of a 21-gun salute honoring the nation's war dead during ceremonies following the annual Memorial Day Parade in Kennett and Unionville.

KENNETT — With near perfect, sunny weather, the latest version of the Kennett Memorial Day Parade went off without a hitch, Monday.

Running its usual route along Rt. 82, the parade ran from Kennett High School to the Union Hill Cemetery at the border of Kennett Township and East Marlborough.

As is the norm, American Legion William W. Fahey Post 491 managed and put together the event, which has grown considerably over the last decade after becoming nearly extinct during the 1990s.

A salute from the driver of a vintage anti-personnel vehicle.

While the event was intended to honor all military veterans, as usual, local residents who served were selected to be honored as the parade grand Marshals:  Donald Curry of West Chester (U.S. Army), Walter C. Brun of Glen Mills (U.S. Army), Alfred J. Cocciolone, Sr. of West Grove (U.S. Army), and Patrick M. Canfield of Wilmington, DE (U.S. Air Force). All four were highlighted in special vehicles during the parade and honored during post-parade ceremonies afterward.

As usual, there were many familiar groups — the Kennett High School and Unionville High School marching bands are staples of the annual event, as an example — but there were some notable new additions for the 2012 version of the parade.

A Po-Mar-Lin firefighter waves to the crowd.

One highlight was an appearance by the Joseph A. Ferko Mummers String Band from Philadelphia.

Joining Ferko as new participants in the parade were the Amerikids Youth Chorus, with school students from throughout Chester County, an antique helicopter from the American Helicopter Museum, and the Penn Dixie Band.  Returning after at least a one-year hiatus included the Delaware Military Academy Band and Color Guard and the Kennett High School Alumni Band.

Vintage farm tractors on parade, harkening to the rich agricultural history of the area.

More typically, local emergency responders turned out in force, including fire units from Kennett Fire Company, Longwood Fire Company and Po-Mar-Lin. Boy Scouts were there in force, including their typical position leading off the parade, as well as the local Service Unit for the Girl Scouts, which covers the Unionville-Chadds Ford and Kennett school districts.

There were both Revolutionary War and Civil War reenactors and military hardware and vehicles from across U.S. history. As is the norm, KAU Little League teams were out in force, too, with truckload after truck of young ballplayers — male and female — riding in the parade.

Additional Images:

The Unionville High School Marching Band heads north on Route 82.

Janet McGann of Pocopson, a Cadette Girl Scout, throws candy to the crowd along the parade.

Pocopson Elementary School Cub Scout Pack 231 marches.

Civil War reenactors on horseback.



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