Clark residents lined Westfield Avenue for the town’s annual parade in celebration of Memorial Day.
As the sound of the drum line echoed through the area, the parade kicked off, featuring active service members, veterans and their families. Waving flags and air-born candy flew for the entirely of the half-hour parade.
“It was another great day in Clark Township,” said Bill Duffy, commander of the Clark American Legion Post 328. “In Clark, we do it right. We honor our fallen heroes every year at Memorial Day. We now have 20 fallen heroes and we honor them at the War Memorial in front of Arthur L. Johnson High School.”
The Arthur L. Johnson Marching Band kicked off the parade, followed by the Clark American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, boy and girl scouts, and other Clark organizations, including the Deutche Club of Clark and the Clark Republican Civic Association.
The parade ended with a ceremony, listing the fallen heroes from Clark, and honoring Sgt. Michael Brattole, a Clark resident who served in Afghanistan before being sent home after a near-fatal injury.
For Brattole, walking as the Grand Marshall was surreal. Growing up, he’d never thought he would be in a parade, let alone leading it in front of his neighbors and friends.
“I love this town, especially for everything it has done for me,” he said.
Brattole led the parade alongside Eric Peters, who is home on military leave after serving in Afghanistan. He is returning to Fort Campbell in Kentucky on June 11.
Cynthia Trostler, a Clark resident, brings her family to the parade every year. This year, she brought her extended family to Clark from Canada to participate in the celebration.
“The kids love it,” she said. “They love seeing the bands and friends from school marching. It’s really fun. It was a great time. We come every year. We wouldn’t miss it.”