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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Marching On: Local Man Saves Memorial Day Parade

By | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS- Although the Memorial Day parade was threatened with cancellation due to a perceived lack of interest and funds, its likely comeback is largely due to the efforts of one local man.


Ballston Spa resident Paul Brisson has managed to organize the parade in less than one week. To Brisson, Memorial Day signifies more than just the start of summer.

“No matter what your viewpoints on politics or war are, this is about the men and women who never made it back or are still over there. I think they deserve a day just for that, and they deserve a parade,” said Brisson.

Brisson has received approval from the city of Saratoga Springs, the required permit and insurance, and has raised the money needed for this year’s parade.

Marchers in the May 28, 2012, Memorial Day Parade on Monday will meet in front of the Old Bryan Inn at 8 a.m. in Saratoga Springs. From there, they will line up commencing from Maple Ave. and Grove St. at 9 a.m., and proceed down Broadway to Congress Park. Organizers are seeking veterans who would like to march or ride in the parade.

Brisson quickly attracted the attention of local media, but what served his cause more was the community’s interest received through social media. The Facebook group he created, entitled Saratoga Memorial Day Parade 2012, attracted over 500 members in a matter of days, prompting an outpour of hundreds of dollars of donations.

Over the past 15 years, the parade was put on by the Saratoga Springs VFW, the Italian American Club, and the American Legion. Brisson will use funds collected through his PayPal account on the group’s Facebook page to finance the promotion and purchases necessary for future parades, avoiding a similar situation next year.

Local four-year navy Korean War veteran Gene Corsale says he’s sure to be in attendance on Monday.

Corsale, who was young during WWII, remembers the war as a time when the country was unified, and he equates that unification with what he sees being done with the parade.

“We have to come together every year. The people want the parade,” Corsale said.

“We remember the fellows that made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom, everyone that served and has passed on. This is a time when we decorate graves and honor and memorialize those that served the country regardless of what war. It’s a labor of love for those that made it possible to enjoy the freedoms and our way of life that we have today. That’s a big thing,” Corsale continued.

For veterans seeking to march or ride in the parade or more information, contact organizer Janice Pancake (518) 584-1648.

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