TAYLOR COUNTY—Members of the West Virginia Memorial Day Committee paid a visit to the Taylor County Commission to provide updates and seek assistance with funding for the 154th Annual Memorial Day Parade.
While the committee, comprised of volunteers, has continued to move forward with plans for this year’s parade, an official decision regarding the execution of those plans has yet to be made.
“Right now, we are moving forward as if we are having a parade. The governor has released Fairs and Festivals to operate once again as of May 1; however, there are going to be restrictions and guidelines that come along with that,” said Memorial Day Parade Committee Chairman Scott Willis. “What we are understanding, as numbers have begun to creep back up, is that that official and final guidance will be issued closer to that May 1 date. A lot of that is going to determine what we are and what we aren’t able to do.”
According to Memorial Day Committee Chair Doug Robinson, because the organization is comprised of such a small number of individuals, who are willing to help out with the rather large task of putting the parade down Main Street each year, many of the guidelines they have seen so far would make the task even more cumbersome.
“Depending on what happens in Charleston, we will not be able to make an official decision until May 1,” he explained.
In addition to state guidelines, the committee would also be subject to follow the guidance handed down by the Centers for Disease Control, which has already caused some concern for parade officials.
“What we have seen as far as their guidelines would make it incredibly difficult, next to impossible, for us to pull off,” Willis noted. “They are not stating that they are mandates, but some of their asks are just too much of an undertaking for our small group of volunteers.”
Willis said that while challenging, the committee is ready to try and tackle the tasks head on, because the meaning behind the parade is just too important.
“We will always keep this tradition alive and will always honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, like we did last year if need be,” Willis voiced. “As long as we are part of this committee, the day will never go by without being recognized.”
And while guests should not expect to see the same parade they did in 2019 due to the current pandemic, officials have been hard at working trying to plan an event for this year, and they are asking for hard working, dedicated individuals to assist with this year’s event.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers to help with this year’s parade,” Willis voiced. “This year, we are going to need more manpower than ever before to pull off the parade. So, if you’d like to help, please attend one of our meetings to get started.”
In addition, Willis shared with the commission an idea that the committee came up with to gain some attention for the annual event.
The Memorial Day Committee was seeking assistance toward funding the purchase of a side-by-side that would be used to promote the annual Memorial Day Parade in other area parades.
“Our plans are to, someday once we are back to some kind of normalcy, start participating in other parades and use the machine to pull our caisson behind it, to try and drum up interest in what we are doing here in Grafton,” said Willis. “We will have the side-by-side wrapped, and if you are willing to assist us, we will include a nod to the committee on the machine.”
The commission, seeing the hard work, perseverance and dedication that the committee has exuded not only this year, but in previous years, voted to allot $2,000 toward the purchase of the vehicle. Additionally, they made a contribution of $2,500 toward the cost of executing the annual parade.
The WV Memorial Day Committee meets on the first Monday of each month in the Grafton City Council Chambers, located at 1 West Main Street, Grafton, beginning at 7:00 p.m., from now until the parade date on Monday, May 31.