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Memorial Day Parade

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From the June 3, 1948 Metuchen Recorder:

[Picture Caption] The above picture shows the Metuchen High School Twirlers and Band as they led the 1948 Memorial Day Parade down Main Street. The parade was one of the largest in the history of the Borough. The line of march ended at Memorial Park where appropriate memorial services were held in honor of American servicemen from all wars who gave their lives for their country.

Along Main Street
With Hank

Memorial Day Memos:

It is difficult to try to pass out the proverbial "orchids" to the deserving participants of the 1948 Memorial Day Parade in Metuchen. But here goes, as we saw it.

First of all, we think the Borough owes a hearty vote of thanks to Councilman Joe Costa, parade marshall, for the general success of the parade which was held under his leadership. It took plenty of time and effort, along with the cooperation of everybody, to put it across.

The schools were well represented, with the Edgar School being declared the best marchers among the elementary schools. We're glad we didn't have to judge them, for it must have been a most difficult task.

The High School Band and twirlers, who are well known by now, did well for themselves as usual. It was nice to see the new Junior unit of the band which made its appearance for the first time. Of course, they looked to be in need of more practice or maybe it was self-confidence but music director Connie Atkinson seems to us to have the right idea in getting those youngsters out early for the practical experience of marching in a parade.

Of course there is nothing to compare with the Perth Amboy Lions Club band. Metuchen was fortunate to have them parade with us last year, too, and to say they add a great deal to the color and rhythm of the parade is putting it mild.

Among the veterans groups, the newly-organized Catholic War Vets seemed to have the best turnout. Most of Metuchen's veterans, however, were on the sidelines, which seemed to be the way they wanted it. We won't venture, at this time to state just why this was so, but it was.

The Girl Scouts were out strong, a good indication of the interest and loyalty, as well as the number of members, of that local youth's organization.

We also want to mention the local volunteer fire department and all 37 of that group who marched in the parade. Many of the boys were wearing their new uniforms for the first time, so we've been told. At any rate, they made a very good showing, and helped remind the local citizens how many firemen are on call to fight fires in the community.

The Rescue Squad ambulance was part of the parade, and even while it served to remind the onlookers of the current Metuchen Safety Council Drive and its slogan that "It Might Be You", it was called into duty.

At the end of the parade one of the Camp Kilmer soldiers collapsed and the ambulance was called away from its leisurely position at the end of the line. It had just received its patient, however, when the army ambulance, which had also taken part in the parade, arrived on the scene and took charge. It was fortunate that the army ambulance was in the vicinity, but it served to remind all those who witnessed the emergency, that from now on, under normal conditions, the Metuchen Safety Council Ambulance will be the first and fastest ambulance available to Metuchenites, and the time saved may mean the difference between life and death.

Too many men, it was observed, forgot the traditional respect paid to the Flag as it passed by, since they failed to remove their hats. What's the matter - bashful fellas? . . . and who was that lady that was standing on the corner of Lake and Essex Avenues waiting for the parade to end who had to be told by her companion just where "Memorial Park" was located (She was practically standing in it). She was also overheard to say that she thought the parade was going to wind up in Edgar Park. What's the matter, lady? Don'tcha read the papers?

Before we leave you for another week we'd like to leave our comments on the 1948 observance of Memorial Day in Metuchen, for a minute, in order to advise Mrs. Fitzgerald of the morning radio show featuring the husband and wife team by that name that the correct pronunciation of our little Borough is "Me (as in "me-chan-ic") - TOUCH - en (as in "endorse"). We've been told by one of their ardent admirers that a discussion of the pronunciation of the name of our town was made over the air Tuesday morning of this week.

The error in pronunciation, which is a common one among strangers, was in the second syllable, which many people try to pronounce incorrectly by giving the long sound to the "u" in "tuch".

But enough "grammar" for this lesson. If you get stuck, just call us the "Brainy Borough" -yak, yak.

Note: Along Main Street with Hank was a regular column of the Metuchen Recorder in the late 40's, written by one time Metuchen resident Henrik (Hank) Hansen. I asked him how he had come to write the column. His reply:

I had been a Metuchen Recorder newsboy, while growing up in Metuchen (1931 until I graduated from MHS in 1939). After graduating from MHS I worked for the General Ceramics Co. in Raritan (now Edison) Township. In 1941 I went to work as a clerk-typist in the Navy Dept. in Washington, DC. While in Washington, I enlisted in the Army Air Corps (June 1942) then returned to Metuchen later that year and worked a few more months until called to active duty in Feb. 1943. After returning from WW2 (Oct. '45) Mr. C. A. Prickitt, publisher of the Metuchen Recorder, asked me to work for him and to straighten out the subscription list for the Recorder. The "list" had become practically non-existent during the war years.

I pounded the sidewalks of Metuchen, and eventually became the jack of all trades: editor; business manager, advertising manager, and circulation manager; assisted by one "girl Friday" in the Recorder office (at various times: Doris Johnson--Class of '38; and Jeannette Hutchinson (daughter of Police Chief Hutchinson)--MHS Class of '39).

I started writing "Along Main Street--With Hank" about 1946 or 1947, and continued to do so when the New Brunswick Daily Home News bought the Recorder from Mr. Prickitt (1948? or '49?).

In 1945--after returning home from WW2 I had joined the inactive Air Force Reserve. In 1949 I joined the NJ Air National Guard at Newark Airport, and in 1951 I wrote my last "Along Main Street" column before being called to active duty for the Korean Conflict.

Eventually I went regular Air Force, and never returned to Metuchen again to live.

Note: More Along Main Street columns will appear on this web site in the near future.


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Last updated 9/20/99 by Jim Halpin.

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