EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange held its annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 27, and veterans from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces came out to celebrate alongside Mayor Ted Green, City Council members, and the residents of all ages who lined Main Street and filled City Hall Plaza.
“I served in the Army,” Arthur Wright said at the event. Wright is a former Essex County freeholder, former county deputy clerk and former East Orange Board of Education president. “I think it’s great. We had a lot of people come out and I think it’s a great event.”
Wright, who is also a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7923, accompanied his post members, including Air Force veteran Fred Shaw, to the parade. Shaw agreed with Wright that the parade was “great.”
“It’s great for the community to share everybody’s experience and have fun,” Shaw said at the parade. “Serving your country is not about politics. I just want all veterans to enjoy this day, which is reserved for us.”
Both Shaw and Wright served during the Vietnam War era, and said they are proud of their service and don’t regret it at all.
Deacon Lee Shingles, of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, had a message for all their fellow veterans, whether they came out to this year’s parade or not.
“I’m an Army veteran, too,” Shingles said. “I want to say, ‘Thank you for your service’ to all my fellow vets. I also want to thank the city of East Orange for having this parade.”
Ward 5 Councilwoman Alicia Holman, a member of Abyssinian Baptist Church, stood next to her deacon at the event.
“I thank all of those who served so that we can have the liberties that we have,” Holman said. “God bless them and God keep them and keep on doing what they’re doing because our great service members are here for us.”