This year's parade Grand Marshall is Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Hudner, a Massachusetts hero who received the first Medal of Honor awarded for the Korean War. Dan Clark, the "Singing Trooper," will provide patriotic entertainment for the gathered crown at Saugus Town Hall.
This year's theme is honoring the Civil War. The parade's Grand Marshall is the family of Cornelius Casey, a Melrose Civil War veteran. The parade starts at Memorial Hall, the city's largest Civil War monument where a flag display is currently honoring the 620,000 men who perished to preserve the Union. The parade runs from restored monument to restored monument, highlighting the return of the copper wreath on Memorial Hall to the restored Grand Army of the Republic Memorial in Wyoming Cemetery. Eagle Scout candidate Jonathon Havey worked hard to restore the GAR monument and funds for the projects came from middle school students in the Operation Gettysburg Club. The keynote speaker at the parade's closing ceremony is Vietnam Veteran Jim Muschett, Bronze Star with Valor recipient and Operation Gettysburg alumni.
The keynote speaker is Vietnam Veteran Thomas Lyons, a central figure in Massachusetts veteran advocacy efforts for his decades of service in dozens of veteran organizations and commissions to include Deputy Commissions of Boston Veteran Services, the Executive Director of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans and the Governor's Veterans Advisory Council. Mr. Lyons is also a member of the Wakefield Veterans Advisory Board and is central in many projects honoring the Wakefield veteran population.