Crowds come out for Memorial Day Parade

WWII vet is grand marshal; bands play from around N.J.

Washington Street was fittingly adorned in red, white, and blue on Wednesday night when residents crowded Washington Street sidewalks for the city’s 116th Annual Memorial Day Parade. Hoboken’s is the longest continuously-running parade of any kind in all of New Jersey.
As is tradition, an enormous American flag was hung across the parade route at the intersection of Washington and 10th streets. Just beyond it, outside the Elks Club, was the parade’s grandstand, where a group of Hoboken veterans led by grand marshal Vincent Wassman observed the parade.
“This is a great honor for me,” said Wassman, a two-time veteran who served in the Second World War and Korea. “It’s very special.”
Hoboken veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War all marched in the parade.

“This is a great honor for me. It’s very special.” – Vincent Wassman
Jack O’Brien, who is 86, has dressed in Revolutionary War-era garb and played the fife in the past 71 Memorial Day Parades. O’Brien said that only six local World War II veterans are still alive, including himself.
Many of the city’s youngest generation were on hand to watch the parade, including young children who stood alongside their parents, clapping to the marching bands and waving to the veterans.
“We just moved here, so I think this is all part of getting to know the town,” said Ed Simpson, who brought his young son to watch the parade. “We’re getting a feel for the local history and you can tell that roots run deep in this town. That’s good, though. That’s why you move to a town like this.”
Several elected officials, including Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and most of the City Council members, marched in the parade.
In addition the Hoboken High School Marching Band, bands from Weehawken, West New York, Bayonne, and Hawthorne took part, along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Pipe and Drum Corps, the Union City High School Junior ROTC, the Hoboken Historical Society, and the city’s Boy, Girl, and Cub Scout troops.

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at

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