Roscoe Memorial Day Parade route is set to everyone's satisfaction


VFW Commander Ruben Hernandez says Memorial Day isn't like other holidays

After two months and several disagreements, on May 21, 2024, VFW Commander Ruben Hernandez and Roscoe Police Chief Sam Hawley agreed on a satisfactory Memorial Day parade route: down Main Street beginning north of Village Hall, then right on Harrison Street to Roscoe Cemetery. 

Village President Carol Gustafson made the unusual move of asking the parade question to be moved to the beginning of the meeting agenda, before the meeting was opened for public comment - usually the first and last item in public meetings. Once the board had done that, Gustafson gave the floor to Police Chief Sam Hawley.

Though the trustees make the final decision on special use permits, they had not seen the application until the meeting agenda was released on Friday. In the mean time, of course, Village staff had been meeting and corresponding with the VFW about the application. The VFW had sent it in March but it was first presented to the board on May 21, 2024. 

Hawley said they had come up with a "pretty good plan for something that is kind of a last minute... the safest plan that we could have in the amount of time that we have." 

By having parade participants line up at Presley Street, in front of the police station, instead of at Bridge Street, Hawley said that parents of the Roscoe Middle School band can use the side streets to safely get their kids dropped off around 9:30 a.m., hopefully keeping congestion at a minimum. "10 o'clock will be the start of the parade."

Hawley said the actual parade route will start "just in front of the parking lot of Village Hall and the [pedestrian] bridge. " It will continue northbound up to Harrison Street, which is the next road after the creek. It will then proceed eastbound on Harrison all the way to Roscoe Cemetery.

Those who are not staying for the ceremony at the cemetery can turn left on 6th Street, then exit on Broad Street or Chestnut Street. 

Trustees approved the plan at their meeting that evening, which was well attended by VFW members, members of the Auxiliary, and other supporters in uniform.

After the vote granting the special use permit for the parade, President Gustafson invited public comment, and that was when VFW Commander Ruben Hernandez gave an emotional speech. 

Hernandez said that Memorial Day is an exception, not like July 4, not like Veterans Day, but a day of "reflection and remembrance of those who died for every single one of us... Doesn't matter how small the parade is. Doesn't matter how large the parade is. It can be one person marching with an American flag down the street." 

At the end of the meeting, Trustee Michael Sima thanked the veterans and the police for their service. He said, "I'm very disappointed at the way this was handled... The board just found out about this at the last minute."

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