Brookline Memorial Day Parade
May 28, 2012
Click on photos for larger images

The Memorial Day Parade - 2012
Brookline Boulevard was alive with the Spirit of America during the Memorial Day Parade - May 28, 2012.

On May 28, 2012, the communities of Brookline, Dormont and Mount Lebanon came together once again for the 79th annual South Hills Memorial Day Parade. The parade begins on Brookline Boulevard at the Veteran's Memorial, located at the intersection with Queensboro Avenue, where the American flag was lowered to half-mast, followed by a brief ceremony, a five-gun salute and a bugler who played Taps.

The parade line featured several civic groups, veteran's organizations, a marching band, boy and girl scouts and various other attractions from the three-neighborhood district. It stretched from near Castlegate Avenue to Edgebrook Avenue. The parade march began at 10:30 and the procession started the long journey to Mount Lebanon Cemetery.

The Opening Ceremony at the Brookline Veteran's Memorial
The parade's Opening Ceremony at the Brookline Veteran's Memorial was a somber moment.
The flag was lowered to half-mast, followed by a five-gun salute and a bugler blowing Taps.

It was a wonderful day for a ride or stroll. The temperature approached 90 degrees, but that didn't temper the enthusiasm of the many participants or the thousands of flag-waving spectators who lined the parade route.

Following the lead of the police motorcycle escort, the parade flowed up Brookline Boulevard to Pioneer Avenue, then proceeded left to West Liberty Avenue. Another left took the line along West Liberty through the Boroughs of Dormont and Mount Lebanon. Once at the cemetery, somber closing ceremonies were conducted.

I was fortunate for the second year to participate in the parade, representing the Brookline Breeze 5K, an annual fitness run/walk celebrating it's 31st year on Saturday, August 11, 2012. We started at Creedmoor Avenue and made the 2.2 mile walk to the cemetery. The Spirit of America was alive in the streets, and a sense of pride and patriotism could be felt from the oldest veterans to the youngest kids. On this day, everyone was proud to be an American.

A young boy salutes the memorial wreath
outside the Brookline American Legion Hall.
A young boy salutes the memorial wreath and flags outside the Brookline American Legion Hall.

The holiday parade was sponsored by the South Hills Memorial Day Association, the Dormont Volunteer Fire Department, American Legion Post 540 in Mt. Lebanon, American Legion Post 540 in Brookline, AARP Dormont Chapter 3016, Brookline Chamber of Commerce and VFW Post 694 of Dormont, along with several corporate sponsors.

The first official observance of Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, was held May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition began in 1865 with the decoration of Civil War soldier's graves in both the North and South. By the end of the 19th century, local observances were commonplace in cities and towns across the nation. After World War I, the day was expanded to include soldier's from all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by Act of Congress.

Memorial Day is a chance for all Americans to honor those fallen heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve freedom, both here at home and abroad. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of their comrades-in-arms who returned home to the country they struggled so hard to protect. Finally, it is a time to show our support for our sons and daughters serving in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and those on assignment in regional roles around the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and may God grant them safe passage home.

The parade flows along Brookline Boulevard
on a sunny spring day - May 23, 2012
The South Hills Memorial Day Parade flows along Brookline Boulevard on a sunny spring day - May 28, 2012.

In April 2011, Brookline historians did research to compile a list of Brookline servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice in battle from World War I through the present day War on Terror. All together they found the names of fifty-six casualties from the Community of Brookline. These are the young men that this Memorial Day Parade is all about. The names of these soldiers, sailors and airmen, and their lasting memory, are what is being honored on this solemn day, now and for generations to come.

WORLD WAR I - Raymond P. Cronin, David P. Digby, Charles Luppe.

WORLD WAR II - William H. Alm, Roy T. Arensberg, Bruce H. Bracey, Edward G. Brickley, James J. Capogreca, Clarence R. Copeland, Thomas J. Cullison, Howard F. Dempsey, Walter F. Dempsey, Edward R. Diegelman Jr., Frank P. Dornetto, John F. Doyle Jr., Gerald B. Fagan, Harold E. Falk, Robert M. Fehring, Joseph J. Gmuca, Robert F. Heil, Richard E. Hynes, Paul C. Kestler, Robert C. Ketters, Michael J. Mahoney, Arthur B. Majestic, Alexander G. Mayberry, John Mazza, Robert F. McCann, Hugh R. McFarland, Walter F. Meisner, William J. Miller, Edward J. Napier, John D. Nicholson, John R. O'Day, Andrew D. Orient, Raymond A. Pisiecki, Alfred M. Reeves, John P. Reitmeyer, Vern M. Ring, Roy J. Ruane, Harry C. Shannon, Jack E. Shannon, James D. Simpson, Harry Spack, Paul M. Tobin, Howard F. Vierling, Ralph G. Wagner, Walter L. Wentz Jr., Harold V. Zeiler.

KOREA - Patrick J. Gallagher, James W. Gormley, Gerald G. Hilliard, James E. McKenna.

VIETNAM - James R. Bodish, James G. Collins, James C. Wonn.

* Photos provided by Clint Burton and Doug Brendel *

Links to other Memorial Day Parade Recaps:

1942    1955    1962    2010    2018    2019

Photos from the 79th Annual Memorial Day Parade

The police guard at the head of the procession.    The Boy Scouts of Troop 6 - Resurrection.
The police escort at the head of the procession (left) and the Boy Scouts of Troop 6 near the back.

Representing the Brookline Chamber of Commerce.    There were plenty of scout troops on hand.
Representing the Chamber of Commerce ... (left) and some of the local Girl Scouts are ready to go.

Brookline's Girl Scout Troop 51221.    All eyes are on the sky as a C130 airplane
makes a pass over Brookline Boulevard.
The Girl Scouts of Troop 51221 (left) and a C130 plane doing a flyover above Brookline Boulevard.

The World War II reenactors are always a treat.
They await the orders to 'move out' from the cannon.    The procession passes Flatbush Avenue.
The World War II soldiers with the vintage jeeps are always present for Memorial and Veteran's Day.

The honor guard at the front of the parade.    Saluting the soldiers.
The honor guard at the head of the parade (left) and three patriotic youngsters give a salute.

Mount Lebanon Fire Department.    The Shriners always have the coolest toys.
The Mount Lebanon Fire Department (left) and the Shriners with their cool mini-motor trucks.

An old fire engine honoring James A. Robinson.    A troop with bagpipes.
A vintage fire engine honoring the memory of James A. Robinson (left) and a troop of scottish bagpipers.

The Mount Lebanon Blue Devil band.    Brookline Boulevard and Pioneer Avenue.
The Mount Lebanon Blue Devil Band (left) and the scene at the corner of Pioneer Avenue and the Boulevard.

Flag waving spectators in Pioneer Avenue.    The parade flows along Pioneer Avenue.
There were lots of spectators, young and old, as the long parade procession moved along Pioneer Avenue.

West Liberty Avenue in Dormont.    West Liberty Avenue in Mount Lebanon.
West Liberty Avenue near Hillsdale Avenue in Dormont (left) and parade-goers in Mount Lebanon.

The Spirit of America    The Brookline Breeze 5K - August 11, 2012
The Spirit of America was alive and well on this day. Don't forget the Brookline Breeze 5K Fitness Run/Walk.

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