Union’s Memorial Day Parade beats the rain

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UNION, NJ — While other towns in the area canceled their parades, the township of Union Veteran’s Alliance Memorial Day Parade said it would carry on, rain or shine. Sure enough, the sun came out just in time!

The parade was nearly 40 minutes long, with a large crowd gathered on Stuyvesant Avenue and Vauxhall Road to commemorate the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The parade featured something for people of all ages. There was music by the Uptown String Band, floats, show cars, marching bands, military units and vehicles, civic and youth organizations and an historic war reenactment.

Notables in the parade included the Rev. Richard Starling of Christ Community Church, Mayor Manuel Figueiredo, Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio, Committeewoman Patricia Guerra-Frazier, Committeewoman Sandra Terrell and Committeeman James Bowser Jr.

The parade also included people from the NJ Veteran’s Network, township of Union Municipal Band, Batman and the Batmobile, Union High School Army JROTC Battalion, Christ Divine Healing and Deliverance Ministry, Pack 68 Cub Scouts, Burnet Middle School, the Department of Public Works driving Desert Storm trucks, Connecticut Farms Nursery School, Connecticut Farms Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Washington Elementary School, Union Public Library, Friends of the Union Public Library, Union Township Historical Society, H.O.P.E. – Hispanic Organization for People’s Empowerment, Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, Union Little League, Union Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge, the Union Suffragettes girls softball team and the township of Union Fire Department.

The Union High School Marching Band performed “America.”
The Uptown String Band, from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, played “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Christ Divine Healing and Deliverance Ministry sang, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

This year’s 2024 parade grand marshal was retired police Sgt. Michael Boll. Boll dedicated his life to charity and helping others. Following graduation from Union High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Operation Desert Storm. He received an associate’s degree from Rutgers University and joined the township of Union Police Department. During his 25-year law enforcement career, he was promoted within his first few years and assigned to several specialized units. In 2017, he founded the NJ Veterans Network, a non-profit charity that aggressively seeks out veterans in need and provides them with the resources and solutions to live a better life. Currently, Boll is employed at the NJ State VFW, where he continues to help veterans and their families daily.

Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta