LYNN — The city will host the seventh North Shore Veterans Appreciation Parade next month, which is meant to remind veterans they’re not only appreciated on traditional military holidays.
The parade was last held in 2015 in Saugus. The last time Lynn hosted the event was in 2013. The event has been held six other times since the North Shore Veterans Appreciation Committee was formed 12 years ago and will be the farewell parade for the current members.
“It’s an appreciation to let veterans know we’re not only thinking of them on Veterans Day or Memorial Day,” said Adele Hultgren, a committee member. “We wanted to give a day for our veterans on the North Shore.”
Hultgren, a Gold Star wife, said her husband was a two-tour Vietnam veteran who succumbed to the effects of Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.
The parade steps off on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m. and will march from Federal Street down Western Avenue heading to and turning right onto Chestnut Street and then turning left onto Goodridge Street and ending at Lynn English High School, where there will be a flag-raising ceremony.
David Solimine, a committee member, said he expects this year to be the biggest parade yet for soldiers, military personnel and their families. He said the committee had to fundraise $70,000 for the endeavor, which took two years.
The largest single donation was $10,000 and the lowest was $5, but “we’re thankful for every dollar,” he said.
Sixteen bands are expected to march, along with a large number of mostly antique military vehicles. There will be a tent and reception area for Gold Star families at a review stand, which will be located in front of Lucia Lighting & Design on Western Avenue, Solimine said.
Along the parade route, there are flags set up on every telephone pole, with a total of 161 flags set up between Market Basket and Lynn English.
“The flags were to mark the parade route and let people know something is coming on Sept. 16,” Solimine said. “When you see that many flags, you know something special is coming.”
Thousands of spectators are expected to watch the parade. There will be 15 parade divisions representing veterans of all eras, from the Civil War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“These heroes have protected our freedoms and we simply want to recognize them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for all of us,” wrote committee members. “In this way, we have kept our promise that we will never forget that freedom is not free.”