FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Cities and towns across the country observe Memorial Day with patriotic traditions. In Waynedale, there’s no bigger tradition than the annual Memorial Day Parade.

Every year, thousands of people line the parade route wearing patriotic gear, waving flags, and reflecting on the meaning of the day. Dozens of groups and organizations take part in the parade which is organized this year by American Legion Post 241.

For many in the Waynedale area and greater Fort Wayne community, the parade is a “don’t miss” event.

“We try to make it a yearly occurrence if we can,” said Waynedale resident Bill DeVinney in 2022. “It’s always a bigger crowd, a better crowd, and it’s a hometown crowd, a very respectful crowd and you’ll see that when the parade goes by and the flags are waving. Honor is there for all those veterans who aren’t here.”

“To pay honor and homage to our past relatives, survivors who are still here surviving because of the patriots who gave their lives for us.”

-Bill DeVinney

Vietnam War veteran Wilson Whaley attended 2022’s parade with his children. While he enjoys the pomp, he also wants people remember what Memorial Day is truly about.

“When I was growing up, we all knew what Memorial Day and Veterans Day was. Over the years, it gets lost and nobody really knows what Memorial day is today. They think it’s a parade, candy, cookouts…no, it’s remembering the fallen. It’s remembering the people who served their country, sacrificed their life, their time, their family, and that – that’s what this time is for,” said Whaley. “It’s nice to know that people are coming out to show their respect, it’s nice to know that we’re not forgotten, that’s what I don’t want to have people do, forget who we are, what we done.”

“To celebrate and remember all my fallen buddies that was not fortunate to come home like I did, but they are the heroes.”

-Vietnam War veteran Wilson Whaley

The 2023 Waynedale Memorial Day Parade starts at 9 a.m. Monday at Waynedale United Methodist Church and goes south along Old Trail Road to Prairie Grove Cemetery. There, the crowd is invited to observe a 21-gun salute, the playing of the National Anthem, and a presentation honoring those who have fallen with the traditional laying of the wreath.

Images from the 2022 Waynedale Memorial Day Parade are below.