NEWTOWN >> From the solitude of the Newtown Cemetery to Veterans Plaza on Historic State Street, Taps split the morning air as Newtown remembered the fallen on Memorial Day.
Pausing first at the gravesite of Morell Smith, Newtown’s only native son who died fighting for his country in WWI, and then at the World War I monument at the Newtown Library Company, veterans from American Legion Post 440 laid wreaths and saluted the men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom.
As the town remembered its fallen heroes on Monday, they waved flags and cheered as local veterans led the annual Newtown Memorial Day Parade through town bearing the nation’s colors and looking sharp in their military uniforms.
Escorted through town by Newtown Borough Police Chief James Sabath and Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn, a Color Guard and Honor Guard made up of local veterans led the march followed by American Legion Post 440 Commander Mike Errico and a parade of local veterans walking and riding the parade route.
Among them was Vietnam Veteran Norman Moorhead, this year’s Parade Grand Marshal.
Moorhead served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967. Some of that time was spent at Naha Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The base was the major support during the Vietnam War.
After the war in 1968, he joined the Newtown Township Police Department where he served until his retirement in 2008 after 40 years with the force.
Joining the veterans for the parade was the award-winning Council Rock High School North Marching Band, which performed a musical salute to the U.S. Armed Services as they marched through town with flags twirling and instruments playing.
The band was followed by the Newtown Fire Association, the volunteers marching by in their snappy dress uniforms, followed by a parade of fire trucks.
Local politicians also joined the march, including State Senator Steve Santarsiero, State Rep. Perry Warren, Mayor Charles Swartz, Newtown Township Supervisors John Mack, Linda Bobrin, Kyle Davis and Dennis Fisher and Newtown Borough Councilors Julia Woldorf and Tara Grunde-McLaughlin.
World War II veteran Arthur Baisley rode by waving to the crowds lining the route. He was a prisoner of war from Dec. 1944 to April 1945.
The parade also included local Scouting organizations, the Council Rock Newtown Baseball Association, the 1st Volunteers from Crossing Community Church, the Newtown Ambulance Squad, American Legion Post 440 baseball team (PA Jr. Prep Champions); Harry Betz riding an old-fashioned bicycle; military vehicles; and much more.
At the Newtown Borough Hall, festively decorated in red, white and blue bunting, the parade paused for a brief Memorial Day ceremony led by Past 440 Commander and Vietnam veteran Ed Hackett.
Post 440 Chaplain Chuck Resch led the gathering in prayer, remembering “all those who gave their life in the service to their country. “Grant to us the grace to remember with love and reverence our fallen heroes and grant that we will shall always appreciate and treasure our freedom and never forget the great price that it was purchased for all of us.”
Post Commander Mike Ericco welcomed the public to the town’s Memorial Day observance and veteran Skip Scarborough laid a wreath at Veterans Plaza followed by the playing of Taps.
Keynoting this year’s Memorial Day ceremony was Dan Fraley, Bucks County’s Director of Veterans Affairs.
Following Fraley’s remarks and the singing of the National Anthem led by the Council Rock North Voice, the parade reformed and continued its march south on State Street and west on Centre and the Richboro Road to its conclusion at the Post Home.