This year's Clark Memorial Day Parade will be dedicated to the memory of Clark native and Army Sgt. James Harvey II who was killed by small-arms fire from insurgents in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan on June 20, 2011.
Harvey was a 2005 Arthur L. Johnson graduate, where he played lacrosse for two years, was well liked, a good student and had many friends. He lived on Conger Way in Clark after moving from Union with his parents and three older sisters – Christine, 35, Robin, 29, and Tracey, 25. (The Harveys moved to Toms River in 2007.) Harvey went on to study at Lincoln Tech, work as a mechanic and then as a substation operator for PSEG. But joining the Army was always on his mind. He enlisted in January 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in January of this year.
When they spoke to Patch after his death, the Harvey family said their pain is only mitigated by the knowledge that James – more often known as “Jimmy” – died with honor, doing what he loved.
“Jimmy wanted to do this right out of high school,” said Christine. “I do think 9/11 might have had a little to do with it. He was trying to find out where his knack was after high school and the bottom line was it all kept leading back to the Army.”
At his funeral on June 29, the roar of motorcycles signaled Harvey's approach, as dozens of members of the Toms River American Legion Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse. Harvey was posthumously promoted to sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star medal, Army Commendation Medal for valor, Global War on Terrorism medal, Afghan Campaign medal, NATO ribbon, Good Conduct medal and Purple Heart.
The annual parade kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 28. Councilman Al Barr is coordinating this year's parade and is asking all invited groups to please return their forms so he can arrange the lineup. Barr also asks any groups, big or small, who would like to participate but didn't receive a form to please contact him (732-815-0463) or town clerk, Edie Merkel (732-388-3669).
For photos and video of last year's parade, check out our story here.