GUIDELINES FOR MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIAL ACTIVITIES
GENERAL: Medford VFW Post 7677 has a fifty year tradition of participation in multiple local community parades and ceremonies over the three days of the Memorial Day Weekend. In addition, the Post regularly conducts brief memorial services at various cemeteries around Burlington County which contain veterans’ graves. In support of these activities, the Post has maintained a ceremonial unit composed of elected officers, Color Guard, firing party, chaplain, Auxiliary members, Junior ROTC and Civil air Patrol units and our volunteer buglers. The Post maintains ceremonial rifles and a supply of blank ammunition and procures appropriate floral wreaths for presentation at these ceremonies. The Post also requests a supply of memorial flags (black tip) from the Burlington County Veterans Service Office for placement in veteran grave markers. The parades and ceremonies staged by our local communities over the Memorial Day Weekend are a positive and welcome indicator that patriotism is alive and well and a fine example for our younger generation. Our continued, enthusiastic participation in these activities is a worthy objective which contributes mightily toward the "Purposes of Our Corporation” mission. Supported communities will normally request our services by formal letter, email or phone call to the Post in advance of the weekend. Formats for individual community parades may differ and we adapt to the local procedure. Our basic memorial service for a cemetery or monument consists of a prayer, rifle salute and the playing or singing of Taps. Uniform for the weekend is the summer uniform which is white shirt, black trousers and VFW or Auxiliary cap. A total of eight floral wreaths will be required. Following is a set of basic guidelines for the day to day conduct of our Memorial Day Weekend mission:
This has evolved into our busiest ceremonial day which includes a township parade and the conduct of a basic memorial service at eight separate cemeteries. Start times appearing here have been the norm for many years but are subject to change by communities. Our ceremonial unit should report to the Post at 0900 hours. A wreath with stand is required. Depart the Post by 0920 hours. Take Church Rd. to Eayrestown Rd., turn right to Route 70, turn left to Route 206, turn right, to Carranza Road, turn left to cemetery.
Junior Mechanics Cemetery:
On Carranza Road below Seneca High School. Here we set up the ceremonial party, replace flags as necessary and wait for the Tabernacle Parade to arrive from its 1000 hours start in the Seneca parking lot. Cars should be shuttled into Tabernacle and parked in the school parking lot below the town hall. The wreath should be dropped off at the town monument.
Numerous emergency vehicles will lead the parade and line up well past the cemetery. The ceremonial party should wait until the Scouts with their large flag, the band and other marchers reach the cemetery. We will then conduct our basic memorial service, police our brass and move forward to the head of the parade where we will follow a State Police or township emergency vehicle and lead the parade into Tabernacle.
Tabernacle memorial Service:
The color guard and firing party will line up on the far end of the township building parking lot. Our chaplain will report to the podium.
At the completion of opening remarks by a Tabernacle official, our Post or Auxiliary chaplain will deliver the opening prayer unless a local clergyman is so designated. Whenever the National Anthem is played or sung, the ceremonial unit will execute Present Arms. Following speeches, the commander and Auxiliary president will place our wreath, followed by others. As directed by the master of ceremonies, the firing party will execute a salute followed by Taps. This concludes the ceremony. We will move to the school parking lot, reload the rifles and proceed in convoy South on Carranza Road to our next destination.
On the left side of the road about two miles down with a blue historical marker. Replace flags, conduct a basic memorial service, police brass. Convoy via Route 32, Medford lakes Road and Stokes Road to our next destination.
Cemetery: On right side of road past junction of Himmelein Road, fenced in, containing two graves. Replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass, and reload rifles. Proceed into Medford, turn right on Branch Street to junction of Branch and Filbert Streets, and turn right on Filbert, park cars.
Cemetery, Church Without Borders:
Proceed through gate next to church. Replace flags, conduct basic memorial service and police brass. Convoy one block down Filbert to Church St. Take left one block to McClain Ave, turn right proceed two blocks, cemetery on left.
Medford Baptist Cemetery:
Enter through cemetery gate, replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass, and reload rifles. Convoy two blocks to Coates St. go straight into cemetery.
Odd Fellows Cemetery:
Pick a spot, replace flags, conduct basic memorial service and police brass. Move back to Branch St. by most direct route, turn left to Main St., right on Main Street and follow Route 541 north into Lumberton, turning left into cemetery opposite Bella Road.
Move to center of cemetery, conduct basic memorial service and police brass, and reload rifles. Flag placement at this cemetery is the responsibility of the Lumberton Fire Department. Return to the Post via Bella road, Country Club Road and Church road. Replenish flags, reload clips, mission accomplished.
We will participate in one parade and conduct our basic memorial service at seven separate locations. Due to the distances involved, we need to have an early start time. Report to the Post at 0745 hours for a 0800 hours departure. A wreath with stand is required. Convoy East on Church Road to Chairville Road and turn right. Continue to junction of Chairville Road and Route 70.
Enter gate, move to graves. Replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass. Turn left on route 70 to Route 206, turn right on Route 206, past the State Police Red Lion Station and turn left onto Carranza Road. Continue to Tabernacle and take left on Route 32 to Chatsworth. At the Chatsworth Fire Station, turn right onto Route 563, New Gretna-Chatsworth Road and proceed past Ocean Spray Facility to gated cemetery on right.
Enter cemetery, replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass, and reload rifles. Continue on Route 563 for about five miles to Speedwell Road and turn right past Ranger quarters. When pavement ends, continue on dirt road for about one mile and turn right. After about 400 yards, a two grave cemetery and historic marker are on the left.
Replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass. Exercise extreme care in turning around as there is deep sand on these back trails. Retrace route to Tabernacle, staying on Route 532 until its junction with Route 206. Turn left on 206, travel South to the Shamong Diner and turn right on Willow Grove Road. Take Willow Grove Road past Five Points intersection for two tenths of a mile to the Pinelands Memorial Park on the right.
Pinelands Memorial Park (New Cemetery):
Replace flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass and reload rifles. Move back to Five Points where Indian Mills United Methodist Church and Fire Station are located. Preposition wreath at town monument on the Medford-Indian Mills Road just up the street from the church and park vehicles.
Indian Mills Parade:
Scheduled to commence following the church service at approximately 1000 hours. Congregation leaves the church, fire trucks and emergency vehicles are positioned, Scouts unfurl their large flag and we lead the parade about 250 yards to the town monument on the right. Firing party and Colors take their positions on opposite sides of the walkway leading from the street to the monument. Master of ceremonies delivers opening remarks. Church Pastor delivers the convocation. Post Commander/Auxiliary President lay the Post wreath, followed by others. Firing party delivers salute followed by Taps and Amazing Grace performed by the fire department piper. Church Pastor gives benediction. Police brass. Move to the Shamong Diner where the fire company hosts breakfast for our ceremonial party. At about 1115 hours, convoy South on Route 206 to Atsion Lake, turn left after Ranger Station at sign for Grace Baptist Church, proceed on dirt road to church with selected fire engines.
Grace Baptist Church:
Replace flags, wait for congregation to leave church. Conduct basic memorial service with Pastor giving the convocation. Police brass and reload rifles. Convoy to the Parkview Cemetery on Fostertown Road, Medford across from the Sewage Treatment Plant via Route 206, Route 70, Eayerstown Rd. Church Rd. and Fostertown Rd.
Park View Cemetery:
Replace Flags, conduct basic memorial service, police brass, return to Post via Fostertown and Church Road. Mission complete, reload clips.
We will report to the Post at 1000 hours and participate in the Medford Parade with memorial services at both the town monument and Freedom Park, conduct a basic memorial service at the Post flagpole and provide a firing party for the Lumberton Parade which commences at 1300 hours. Six wreaths with stands are required. Between 0800 and 0830, a detail will report to the Post, lower the Post flag to half-staff per protocol, pick up four wreaths (Two each for the Post and Auxiliary) from the cooler and preposition them behind the Medford Town Monument on Main Street and at the monuments at Freedom Park. They will also lower the flags at these locations to half-staff and return to the Post.
Leave the Post at 1015 hours, convoy via Church, Wilkins Station Roads, Route 541 and Allen Street to the parking lot of the Allen School, the assembly area for the parade. Marchers will disembark. Vehicles should then be parked in the Freedom Park parking lots. Marchers will assemble at the head of the parade at 1050 hours and coordinate with Medford officials. The Post ceremonial unit will consist of the Post Commander/Auxiliary President as the first rank. Four or five person Color Guard will form the second rank (if we have sufficient personnel, we will carry the POW flag.) Additional riflemen will form the third rank. Remaining members, auxiliary, Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol and any local veterans desiring to participate will form the fourth rank.
We will follow the Medford Police vehicle and lead the parade from Allen Street left on to Main St. and continue on Main St. until we are five steps from the town monument on the right. The commands Ready, Eyes Right will be given. At this time, the commander/president execute the hand salute and eyes right. The Color Guard looks straight ahead. All personnel in succeeding ranks execute the hand and/or rifle salute. The rightmost file salutes and looks straight ahead. All other files salute and execute eyes right. The salutes will be held until the command is given Ready, Front after the unit has passed the monument. The Honor Guard will then halt and fall out to assume positions for a brief ceremony at the town monument.
The firing party will position itself along the curb in front of and facing the monument. The Colors will form along the wall of the building to the right of the monument as you face the street. The Post/Auxiliary chaplain will report to the podium. Commanders or representatives of the Post, Ladies Auxiliary and Men’s Auxiliary will stand by their respective pre-positioned wreaths behind the monument. One individual will be designated to report to the flag pole to raise the flag from half-staff as the band plays the National Anthem. Members not participating in the ceremony will form near the colors.
The township master of ceremonies will make opening remarks. The band will play the National Anthem and the flag will be raised to full staff. The Honor Guard will execute Present Arms followed by Order Arms and Parade Rest. Our chaplain will read the Memorial Day Prayer. Placement of wreaths will follow. The master of ceremonies will call for the rifle salute which we will execute and buglers from the band will sound Taps. This will complete the ceremony.
Police brass. It is appropriate to pass expended brass shells to local children in the audience with the admonition "Don’t bring this to school for show and tell.”
The new format for this parade will include continuing the march to Freedom Park and the conduct of a similar memorial service. The Honor Guard and the other march units will reform on Main Street and there will be a brief intermission to allow spectators to move by foot or vehicle to Freedom Park.
Upon signal from the Medford Police, the parade will make a left turn on Union Street and continue to the second entrance to Freedom Park, make a left and proceed to the monument complex. The Color Guard and Firing Party will take up a position to the right as we face the monuments. Brief remarks, prayer, laying of wreaths, rifle salute and Taps will ensue
Police brass, reload rifles and return to the Post via pre-positioned vehicles.
Ceremony at the Post:
The firing party will form on the newly constructed firing party position. The Colors will form to the side of the flagpole. Wreaths will be pre-positioned behind the flagpole. All persons in the canteen will be asked to come outside. Everyone will be brought to Present Arms. At the direction of the commander, a designated person will raise the flag to full staff. The chaplain will read the prayer. The Post Commander/Auxiliary President will place the wreaths on the road side of the flagpole facing outward. A rifle salute will be fired followed by the rendering of Taps either by bugler, portable boom box or the Post public address system. This will conclude the ceremony and everyone will be invited inside to partake of refreshments. Prior coordination will have been made with Lumberton Township to determine exactly what time our firing party will be needed to fire the rifle salute at the close of their parade and memorial ceremony. Our colors are not required in Lumberton. At the appropriate time, our firing party will convoy to Lumberton. Since most of the roads into Lumberton will be blocked for their parade, the firing party will convoy via Eayrestown Rd to Bridge Rd., turn right on Bridge Rd., then left on Eayrestown Rd. and continue to Bobby’s Run Boulevard. Turn left on Main St. and park at the Village Green.
Lumberton Parade Memorial Service:
The Lumberton Parade terminates at the Village Green along Main Street. Our firing party positions itself near the flagpole. After introductions, prayers, speeches and the laying of wreaths, we are asked to fire the rifle salute. This is followed by Taps and the ceremony is completed. Police brass and return to the Post, clear and put away the rifles and flags. Mission Complete.
Weapons and Ammunition.
The ideal firing party would have four M1 Garands and one Springfield 03. (ammunition estimates are based on this configuration). Over the course of the three days, we will fire a total of nineteen three round salutes. We get two salutes per clip for the M1s. This amounts to ten clips for each of four rifles for a total of 40 clips. 228 rounds will be expended and there will be 92 loose rounds left for the M1s. The Springfield 03 will require 57 loose rounds. Grand total of rounds expended will be 285 rounds.
SAFETY NOTE. 30 Caliber blank rounds with a white tip should never be used in the M1 Rifle. They are safe for use in the Springfield. All our stocks of this ammunition are clearly marked on each box. Our current supply of blank ammunition is sufficient for at least three years of ceremonial firing at our normal annual rate. The Post armorer will ensure that the rifles are thoroughly cleaned and lubricated within one week after these ceremonies. The Post Commander can order additional supplies as required through official Army channels.
Participation by Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol Units:
There is a high level of enthusiasm among young people in these organizations and their parents for participating in our ceremonial and community activities. Participation in Color Guards and firing parties will require a basic minimum of familiarization and training with close order drill and our ceremonial weapons to insure safety requirements and proficiency. A minimum of two hours of basic drill and ceremonies (school of the soldier with arms) and blank firing practice with the M-1 and Springfield Rifle will be conducted on a voluntary basis at the Post a minimum of two weeks prior to the Memorial Day Weekend. Only those cadets who demonstrate an acceptable awareness and level of proficiency will be allowed to participate. The Post Ceremonial Coordinator will certify those qualified to participate and arrange for remedial training for aspirants who need additional training.
Coordination Points of Contact:
Beth Portocalis, Special Assistant to the Township Manager; (609) 654-2608 x338: firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Chief Rich Meder; (609) 654-7805; Rmeder@MEDFORDPOLICE.org
Charles Burgin, Fire Dept. President; (609) 268-1114 Burgin128@comcast.net
Tabernacle Township: (609) 268-1220
Joe Painting, Ceremonial Coordinator (609) 859-8051; email@example.com