Beverly’s Memorial Day parade bigger and better
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent May 26, 2014 3:06PM
The Memorial Day parade grand marshal Terry Gainer waves to the crowd. Gainer recently retired as the longest-serving sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate. | Ginger Brashinger/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 28, 2014 6:22AM
The Beverly Area Planning Association served up a generous slice of Americana at its annual Memorial Day celebration.
A Memorial Day parade featured members of the military and their supporters along a mile-and-a-half route lined with flags, thousands of friendly spectators and stately homes decorated with red, white and blue for the national holiday.
Beverly resident John Klancnik, who said his family decorates for Memorial Day every year, waited with about a dozen family members for his wife Erin to finish the annual Ridge Run. Family members said Erin, who grew up in the Beverly neighborhood, has participated in the run “since she was in sixth or seventh grade.”
Families and friends gathered leisurely along the joint Ridge Run and parade route, while children threw water balloons at runners to cool them off and others shouted encouragement to walkers and runners nearing the finish line.
Megan Boguszko said when she and her husband Marty moved into their Beverly home along the parade route three years ago, BAPA’s Memorial Day activities was “one of the very first events” they celebrated.
“It’s gotten bigger every year,” she said. The Boguszkos began the day with a light breakfast for guests, including those running or walking, and planned to “barbecue hop” in the neighborhood after the parade.
BAPA executive director Matt Walsh, in his seventh year as director, said it was “a great day in the neighborhood.” He said the increase to 43 entries in this year’s parade clearly makes it a success.
“Last year we had about 27 (entries). It was because of the hard work of the parade committee,” Walsh said.
He said between 250 and 300 volunteers conducted operations such as filling goody bags and setting up tables under the big white tent at Ridge Park where Memorial Day ceremonies took place after the parade.
Among those honored at the ceremony was Beverly resident Terry Gainer. Gainer, a military veteran of the war in Vietnam, recently retired from his position as Sergeant-at-Arms in the U.S. Senate after seven years in the position. Gainer was the longest-serving Senate Sergeant-at-Arms since World War II, according to Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s government website.
Commenting on the controversial decision not to allow the Southsiders for Peace group to participate in the Memorial Day parade this year, Walsh said, “Our focus is on those who served our country and died for our freedoms.”
The Southsiders for Peace group passed out leaflets about their anti-war sentiments before the parade began and appeared along the parade route. Tom Shepherd, a member of the group, said in an earlier statement to the SouthtownStar that “we feel it’s important to have a peace element in any of these parades.”
Not everyone was aware of the controversy.
Boguszko said she hadn’t heard about the ban, but she “would not have been offended” if the peace group had walked in the parade.
“I’m sure both sides have a deep attachment to their beliefs,” Boguszko said.