Ironton Does It Again

Tony spent Memorial Day in Ironton as part of a tradition that dates back to the days on Reconstruction in the 1860s. His blog is a tribute to America and Iron-town.

Something Old, Something New

They have been doing this parade in Ironton longer than any town in America, since 1868 when Andrew Johnson was president to be precise! It is no wonder that the 141st Ironton Memorial Day parade proved to be a fan favorite.

By my crude estimate some 30 thousand of those fans jammed downtown “Iron-town” to greet Grand Marshall Arthur Pierson and some 200 units including the First Warning Weather van. For my part, I saluted every veteran I saw along the parade route and yelled out to the Marines along the way how “my dad fought with the first Marine Corp Division at Guadalcanal in WWII.”

I arrived early enough to garner some face time with the gang from Yvonne DeKay’s School of Dance. Some 100 twirlers, dancers and tumblers strong, Yvonne has been at it now for 44 years. “We have 5 national champions on our squad. We love to perform”, Yvonne told me.

I have enclosed a picture of the squad.

Before the parade I mingled with the matting throng. There was the gang from Ironton EMS who sported a brand spanking new ambulance. "We do 40 calls a day Tony. Everything from critical dialysis trips to routine doctors appointments to car accidents, some 12,000 a year", Dave Rotter told me.

One thing that makes the Ironton parade run so smoothly is the work from so many "foot" soldiers, folks who come back every year to choreograph the lineup and parade route and make all spectators feel at home. James Hamilton is one of those workers. "We do it for the vets", Jim told me.

Along the way as I drove the parade route, there were familiar faces like Marshall Football Head Coach Mark Synder to whom I shouted "breakthrough year, coach, Good Luck". Mark nodded his approval!

On the new friend front, there was was Dot Richardson and Betty Withrow on north 6th street who were excited to see all the kids in the parade. For Sandy Pruitt the fascination focused on the equine. "I love the horses" she said. Alice Barton flashed me, well, with a Newschannel 3 umbrella she had won!

The Green High cheerleaders marched their way from Scioto County all the way to Lawrence Street. Turns out Miranda Smith of Green is an aspiring meteorologist. "Ohio State has a very strong meteorology program", I mentioned. Miranda countered with music to my ears. "I am a Buckeye and have strong grades in math. I will see you at the football game someday, Tony", she alerted me.

Add it all up and no surprise Ironton put on the best Memorial Day parade in America on Monday, just as they have since 1868!
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