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Ohio city will end its Memorial Day parade, which mayor says has 'essentially lost its message'

By KAITLYN MCGARVEY | Record-Courier, Kent, Ohio | Published: February 24, 2021

STREETSBORO, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — There will no longer be a Memorial Day parade in Streetsboro after the city's American Legion Post expressed concern about the message it portrays.

"The Memorial Day parade has essentially lost its message," said Mayor Glenn Broska, who is a military veteran. "It's Memorial Day. It's not a day for celebration and baseball teams and some people campaigning and things like that. It is a Memorial Day to remember those that have fought and died for our country."

Broska told City Council on Monday that American Legion Post 685 wanted to withdraw their support of a parade in favor of a different parade day. Aaron Hatzo, a representative of the American Legion, said the sentiment has been on the minds of members for a couple years.

Streetsboro will not stop observing the meaning of Memorial Day, Broska emphasized. It just will not be observed in the same way. He said the day had become about a parade rather than what the day signifies. He would like to see it returned to a day of solemn observance.

The American Legion will continue its "round robin" visitation of various sites in the city to pay respect to the fallen, Hatzo said.

Hatzo said the legion's executive board offered the city a few alternative dates for a parade, including the Fourth of July. However, that could prove difficult because July 4 does not usually land on a weekend. The group also suggested doing something in conjunction with the annual Streetsboro Family Days event or hosting a parade on the day Streetsboro became a city.

Councilman John Ruediger voiced his support of the American Legion's decision, saying it would be good to loop the parade in with Family Days or the upcoming bicentennial celebration in 2022. Councilwoman Julie Field said she preferred it just become a city parade instead of being connected to Family Days. Hatzo said the Legion does not mind either way.

Councilman Justin Ring, a member of the Sons of the American Legion, said he preferred the Fourth of July time frame. If it happens to fall on a weekday one year, the parade could just be moved to the weekend before or after.

"That's a time for celebration and it's a big celebration," Ring said. "Not just the birth of our city, that's the birth of our country."

Discussion will continue at Streetsboro City Council's next service meeting on March 8.

kmcgarvey@recordpub.com

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