Berlin Memorial Day Parade Returns Monday

Berlin Memorial Day Parade Returns Monday
The Berlin Memorial Day Parade returns to Flower Street Monday after a two-year hiatus. File photo

BERLIN– The highly anticipated Berlin Memorial Day Parade will return this year after a two-year hiatus.

On Monday, May 30, the Berlin Memorial Day Parade will once again take place on Flower Street. Though it wasn’t held in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID, the parade will return to commemorate the holiday this year.

“With our two-year hiatus we’ve really been planning and trying to make sure everyone knows we’re coming back and we’re coming back with a bang,” organizer Gregory Purnell said.

The parade, which begins at Stephen Decatur Middle School and travels down Flower Street to Henry Park, is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Monday. Forty entries, including floats, marching units and other community groups, are expected to participate. The grand marshal will be Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead of the Maryland National Guard while Brandon Bailey of the Berlin Fire Company will be the parade marshal. Purnell said that was appropriate because while the parade will honor those who died serving in the U.S. armed forces as it always does, this year’s specific theme is to recognize essential workers.

“Our theme is to celebrate essential workers who had to be out there on the job,” Purnell said. “We’re trying to commemorate and celebrate them.”

He added that Birckhead was a source of pride locally and organizers were thrilled she was able to be involved.

“She’s an inspiration to the community,” Purnell said.

There will be a $100 prize awarded to the best float while marching units will be ranked and receive trophies. Purnell, who will announce the parade as he traditionally has, said Jean Robins has once again created a wreath to serve as the centerpiece of the parade.

Purnell is hopeful area residents have not forgotten about the parade, which has always been a local favorite. He remembers participating in the days before Route 113 was constructed, when the parade went all over town.

“We always had a crowd,” he said.

The parade will again be led by a color guard from Duncan-Showell American Legion Post 231. Members will arrive at the parade after a morning of visiting local cemeteries, where each Memorial Day they place flags and play taps to honor local residents who served in the armed forces.

Purnell encourages local residents to mark the holiday by attending Berlin’s parade.

“We’d like to invite everyone to come out and celebrate essential workers but also to pause to remember our soldiers,” he said.

Attendees can park on the grass lot across the street from Henry Park.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.