150th Memorial Day Parade

150th Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade

Click HERE to watch the parade on YouTube. 

“Marking 150 Years of Honor” – The Ironton Tribune { link }

Final preparations are underway and the 150th Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade is upon us.
On Monday, 12 divisions will make their way through the city streets as part of the procession, drawing tens of thousands to what will likely be one of the largest parades yet.
The parade has a proud history, since Capt. McQuigg led the first march in 1868, heeding the call of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor lives lost in the Civil War.
It is a testament to the patriotism of generations in our region that the event has reached this proud milestone.
Our region has sent men and women into the battlefields of numerous conflicts, from the Civil War to World War II to the recent missions in the Middle East.
Supporting this parade is but one way to show respect for all who have fought for our country.

“A Momentous Milestone” – The Ironton Tribune { link }

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) —  { link }
Tens of thousands of people packed Ironton for the country’s oldest continuously running Memorial Day Parade, stepping off from the same corner for 150 years.

This year marks the 150th year for the parade.

Each year, the parade honors men and women who were killed in the line of duty.

The parade was first held in 1868 and has continued every year since.

This year’s parade consists of 12 divisions, full of marching bands, fire trucks, beauty queens and floats from around the tri-state area.

More than 1,000 people are participating in this year’s parade.

The heat and humidity did not put a damper on thousands of expressions of Americana — red, white and blue everywhere you turned in Ironton. For 150 years, since 1868, the parade has stepped off from the same corner.

With marching bands keeping beat, soldiers in uniform, armor on the ground and planes scorching overhead, this year’s event was all about remembering.

“We’re thinking about them, we remember them and we thank them for their service,” said Roy Ratliff, the Honorary Grand Marshal at the parade.

Ninety-two-year-old Roy Ratliff said that’s what the day is all about. Ratliff served in WWII in the European theater as the bottom turret gunner on a B-17 bomber. He flew 30 missions and came home. Many did not.

“I had two first cousins that were brothers, one was in the Marines was killed on Iwo Jima,” said Ratliff, fighting back tears. “And his brother was killed in the Navy so I have to remember them and the life that I’ve had I have to give thanks to them.”

“We’re very proud of what we do here in Ironton. We remember our war dead,” said Brent Pyles, the parade Grand Marshal.

Pyles said that why these folks turn out by the thousands every year for 150 years straight, not just for the family fun.

“It’s something we all look forward to, it becomes something of a homecoming for us, but we always pause for two or three hours to pay homage to those people who have gone before,” he said.

From handing out flags to tossing out candy, people young and older took time out of their day to say thanks and smile, celebrating America, the men and women in uniform and those who’ve given their lives.

Parade officials say the U.S. Congress just recently again recognized the parade as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the country. The first one in 1868 was to commemorate soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War.