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Marking Memorial Day in southern Chester County

Chris Barber
May 15, 2015

There will be a predicted 12,000 to 15,000 spectators in Kennett Square to greet more than 1,000 participants ranging from high school marching bands and Glasgow High School JRROTC color guard to Civil War re-enactors, World War II Grand Marshals, bag pipers and fife & drum companies, according to a press release issued by Parade Chairman Bill Taylor.

Some of the highlights of this year’s parade will be the Joseph A. Ferko Mummers String Band, Marine color guard, Navy color guard, veterans riding in antique military vehicles, convertibles, Stanley Steamers, Dixie Demon Alumni Band, Penn Dixie Band, Christiana Clampets, Lion Club Band, Camptown Shakers Civil War Band, Bayard Middle School Drumline, 1899 Carousel Street Organ, antique bikes, Uncle Sams, Shriners mini cycles, antique helicopter, 1940s Andrew Sisters, service clubs, churches, floats, Upland Country Day School, scouts, KAU Little League, Chinese folk dance troupe, Chinese American Community Center Lion Dance Club, fire companies and more.

The parade is Monday, May 25, at 10 a.m. Line up at 9 to 9:15 a.m. The lineup is at Kennett High School on East South Street. The parade route starts at Kennett High School and goes to South Broad Street, up to East State Street, west to North Union Street, and north to Union Hill Cemetery.

There are three grand marshals, all veterans of World War II:

Michael B. Pratola Jr >> Mr. Pratola was drafted in July 1944 and sent to Alabama for 17 weeks of basic training. He was shipped to Italy, Fifth Army Infantry, then moved to Special MP to guard Maples Harbor, and then moved to Harbor Craft Co. to operate a 75-ton floating crane in Maples Harbor. He supervised the work of 12 Army veterans and 14 Italian civilians. He was discharged in August 1946.

Fred Pratola Sr. >> Mr. Pratola was sent to Tokyo, Japan, in 1947 to serve with the Central HQ Group. He served as a custodian during the War Crime Trials at a big building they called “The West Point of Japan.” There were a lot of lawyers from all over the world. General MacArthur was in Tokyo to head the Central HQ Group.

Robert J. Hopkins Sr. >> Mr. Hopkins joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1944 and completed basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He spent time in Guam, then was sent to the island of Chichi-jima to guard Japanese war crime criminals. He escorted the criminals by ship to Guam and continued to guard as they faced trials for their crimes. He was honorably discharged in 1946 at the Marine base in Great Lakes, Illinois.

Avon Grove Parade

The 17th Annual Avon Grove Memorial Day parade will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2015 starting at 9 a.m. at the Avon Grove High school parking lot. All participants to be at the Avon Grove High School by no later than 8:30 a.m.

Schedule of events this year will include guest speaker Lawrence Davidson, Director of Veterans Affairs for Chester County, along with State Rep. John Lawrence, West Grove’s Mayor Steve Black and our award winning hometown band — the Avon Grove High School Marching Band directed by Rebecca Staznik.

The Annual Avon Grove Memorial Day parade is a community event that would not be possible without the help of local businesses in the area including Avon Grove Lions Club, West Grove Fire Company and surrounding fire companies, local boroughs and townships along with local individuals and people in our community.

The Parade Committee includes Dominico Ruffini, Hank Detering, Tom Muller, John Ruffini, Vicki Dash-Slesinski and Gary Hicks. This is a special time to support our veterans and to say “Thank You” to the men and women serving in all branches of the military who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Contributions to support the event can be sent to the Avon Grove Memorial Fund, 104 Rosehill Avew., West Grove, PA 19390. Please call 610-869-3002 for more information.

Oxford

Oxford’s Memorial Day Parade will stage on South Street at 9 a.m. It will start at 10 a.m., marching up Third Street. The parade will end at the Oxford Cemetery for a memorial ceremony.

D’Ambrosio Chevrolet in Oxford

Jeff D’Ambrosio Chevrolet at 2158 Baltimore Pike in Oxford (just south of town) is having a car show and fireworks on Friday, May 22. The fireworks begin when night falls, and the car show starts in early evening.

For more information about this, visit the Daily Local.

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