Memorial Day parade offers new thrills, old friends

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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  1. steve says:

    I think the Legion Post does put together the ceremonies at the graveyards, but the parade is put together by Francis (Bill) Taylor, of Taylor Oil in Kennett. Bill has done this for I don’t know how many years.
    A story about 2 of the WWII vets honored this year. My Dad, Walt Brun, He was part of the 112th Regimental Combat Team, and left Fort Ord, California, by ship to New Guinea, and then to Luzon in the Philippines in 1944. A Corporal (T-5), he was in the infantry as part of a heavy weapons team (mortars). In was in the Philippines that Walt was awarded the bronze star. There were 2 servicemen’s bodies behind enemy lines, and 4 other squads tried to recover them, but were pinned down. Walt’s squad succeeded in retrieving the US soldiers bodies, and they were awarded the Bronze Star.
    While in the jungles of the Philippines, he auditioned for, and was selected and transferred to the 1st Calvery Division Army Band, and shipped to Japan. On route to Japan, the Atomic bombs were dropped. Walt landed in Tokyo Bay, and saw the Missouri sail into the bay, on which the peace treaty was signed. He stayed in Japan as part of the US occupying forces until September, 1946, when he came home. He married Isabella Perrone in 1947, and they moved to Kennett in 1948. He and Mom lived in Kennett until a few years ago when they moved to Maris Grove in Glen Mills.
    Pat Canfield is know by many as the music director of Kennett High School for decades. Most all the alumni band members were taught by Pat. Pat also was in a regimental band while in the Army during WWII.

  2. Shelley Mincer says:

    GREAT coverage of the parade!!!

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