Hudson's Memorial Day Parade canceled
Staffing, logistics, COVID-19 issues all cited as reasons
HUDSON — The American Legion and the city of Hudson have canceled the 2021 Memorial Day Parade.
The flag raising ceremony on the Green and the memorial service to honor veterans at Markillie Cemetery will take place as scheduled. More details will soon be provided by the American Legion.
City Manager Jane Howington said the decision to cancel the event is related to staffing and logistics, as well as not knowing what the state and federal COVID-19 protocols for gatherings will be at the time of the parade in late May.
Howington added the city typically needs to have a "large number" of police officers and public works employees working to close roads and handle other issues for the parade. The city also asks other area agencies to help out with the event.
"To coordinate this, posting for coverage must be coordinated with regular on-duty shifts and resources plus the contractual (union) advance posting mandates," Howington said. "We then have to determine [the] numbers of extra duty resources and reach out to other communities for their posting of shift opportunities. This requires at least a 60-day window [of time]."
Howington said the city also does "not yet know" whether state and Centers for Disease Control restrictions "will be modified by Memorial Day."
"With the unknown of whether the Memorial Day Parade could move forward, we've run out of time from a staffing standpoint to fit that in," said Howington during the council meeting Tuesday. "That was the reason the city and particularly our two chiefs, [Fire] Chief [Jerry] Varnes and [Police] Chief [Perry] Tabak had recommended that we probably need to cancel that… The American Legion is very flexible and wants to do something, but felt there was a problem with all the advanced planning to get to Memorial Day at this late point in time. It has nothing to do with how many people might be vaccinated or not. It's really a planning and logistics issue."
She emphasized her staff was "trying to re-open events and get people back in town as safely and as quickly as we can."
Planning has already begun for city staffing for the fireworks program on July 4.
Howington added she hopes the city can host a parade or festivity later on in the year, possibly on Labor Day weekend.
Council member Skylar Sutton (Ward 3) said he was "very interested in us figuring out a way to do a parade this year somehow …I think the community really needs it."
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Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.