COVID Casualty: Memorial Day Parade Cancelled Again

Photo: The 2018 Memorial Day parade

While the number of Belmont and state residents vaccinated is growing by the day – nearing one-in-five in the next weeks – the coronavirus continues to play havoc with a return to normalcy.

The latest example of that trend is the long-standing tradition of the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at Belmont Cemetery which has been cancelled for the second year running.

“Bob Upton [Belmont’s Veterans’ Service Officer] made a decision which we support to not have an in-person parade this year,” said Belmont Health Department Director Wesley Chin at the Health Commission’s meeting on Monday, March 29.

The annual event has the town’s veterans, military personnel, police and fire units, elected officials, the combined High School and Chenery Middle School bands, scouts and youth groups marching from Cushing Square to Belmont Cemetery where the town comes to honor those who gave their lives to the defense of the country.

Upton is beginning to plan “for some small in person ceremonies that will involve the Select Board and those associated with the veterans in town.” said Chin.

Pizzi Proud: Belmont Celebrates Marathon Champion’s Return Home

Photo: Becca Pizzi and her daughter, Taylor.

Becca Pizzi came home to Belmont on top of a fire truck fueled by a wave of communal love.

Pizzi, both the first American woman to finish and win the World Marathon Challenge – in which participants run a marathon (26.2 miles) on seven consecutive days in a different continuant each day – arrived back to her hometown on Thursday, Feb. 4, to be the centerpiece of a parade from Belmont High School to Belmont Center.

Lead by town officials and the BHS Marching Band, Pizzi rode on a siren-blaring Belmont Fire engine with her daughter, Taylor, her family and boyfriend, followed by hundreds of residents – and a small army of television crews – celebrating the marathon champion and her accomplishment, destroying the previous record while running an average three hours and fifty-five minutes per race and finishing third overall all in one week’s time while traveling 25,000 miles. 

“Just flying seven continents in seven days is extraordinary, and they stopped to run a little bit,” said Bob Mahoney, CEO and president of Belmont Savings Bank which sponsored the parade and reception. 

Noting that Pizzi had seven “red letter days” in winning each race during the Challenge, “it’s important that you are sharing your fabulous red letter day with 20,000 people in your hometown and we really appreciate that very much,” said Mahoney, adding that young children will be able to look at her accomplishment “and face challenges and now will honestly be able to say, ‘I can do it’.”

After receiving proclamations from the town, the Massachusetts House and Senate as well as from Gov. Charlie Baker, Pizzi – who was wearing the winning medals from each continent she raced – kept her remarks short and sweet. 

After thanking her daughter – the race had been the longest period they had been separated in their lives – family and friends, Pizzi the response from everyone before and during the races “makes me fortunate that I am a Belmontian, and I could never have done this without your support.”

Pizzi would then head inside the Belmont Savings Bank main branch to sign countless autographs, be interviewed by all of Boston’s television stations and bask in the spotlight reserved for local heroes. 

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Belmont’s Memorial Day Parade Kicks Off at 11 AM

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It’s the one day of the year Belmont comes out for a parade.

Marching bands from Belmont High School, and the Chenery Middle School, color guards and members from the Belmont Police and Fire departments, Veteran motorcyclist, marchers from local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops and veterans will all take part in the 2015 edition of Belmont’s Memorial Day Parade and Public Ceremony beginning at 11 a.m., Monday, May 25, beginning on Trapelo Road adjacent to the municipal parking lot and Starbucks in Cushing Square.

All veterans and current military personnel are invited and welcome to join the other vets at the head of the parade.

Lining the route – up Trapelo Road before making a left at Grove Street and continuing to the Belmont Cemetery – will be families and residents cheering the marchers.

At the cemetery, a wreath laying ceremony will take place, speeches will be read, flowers laid at the graves of veterans, the names of Belmont citizens who died for this country will be honored, “Taps” played and a final salute will be given.