HOPEWELL (KDKA) — A local town’s planned Memorial Day celebration came to a halt before it even started.
Hopewell’s annual parade was canceled at the last minute, leaving many frustrated and disappointed.
The traditional route for the Memorial Day Parade in Hopewell was empty Monday. There were flags along the way, but no vets, no marching bands and no spectators.
“Today I had to go to Beaver to watch their parade to remember the veterans and all that,” Hopewell resident Harold Allinder said. “Normally I sit in my front yard with 15, 20 people.”
“I’m sure they were waiting outside their houses. We walk right past their houses every year we’ve done it,” Raymond Dougherty, with the Hopewell VFW, said.
Over the past few days word spread quickly through the community: this year’s parade was canceled. Some VFW members say the public supports them, but getting veterans out is a challenge.
“The veterans just won’t come out anymore and the leadership just… there’s no organization to get them there,” Carl Hughes with the Hopewell VFW said. “I think it’s a lack of commitment. I just don’t think… It almost leaves the public saying, ‘If you won’t show up and we’re waiting for the parade, why should we even be here then?'”
The loss of this year’s parade was personal for Allinder. His brother Blaine was a Vietnam Vet who volunteered for the VFW before he died.
“I was a little disappointed and I know that my brother would be because he was involved in it. He would do all the speeches,” Allinder said.
Hopewell may remember 2018 as the year the Memorial Day parade went away in the community. A lot of people are wondering if it will ever come back.
“I would hope that everybody would just voice themselves and with that, they would get more participation and bring it back,” Hopewell resident LuAnn Williams said.
“My Facebook, my phone’s blowing up. ‘What do you mean no parade?’ And it’s hard to explain to people about apathy, you know?” Hughes said.
Folks were still doing traditional Memorial Day activities, like swimming or going to cook-outs, but what they didn’t have was a chance to say thank you to the many from the community who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s a day to honor veterans. I think every town should have it,” Williams said.