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Community Food Pantry Will Be Collecting Food Donations at Today's Parade

Memorial Day Parade will begin at 2 p.m.

The lineup is set for the 2012 Memorial Day Parade and it promises to be an outstanding event.

The lineup for the parade features eight bands, dozens of community organizations, clowns and minutemen.

for the second straight year.

The parade will begin at 2 p.m. from the center of town. However, if history is any indicator, folding chairs will be start being placed along the parade route hours earlier to try and reserve prime viewing space.

The parade will continue along route 38, ending in the parking lot of the Brooks Plaza near Mac's Dairy Farm.

Musical entertainment for the 2012 parade includes the Tewksbury High Band, the Andover High Band, the Bunker Hill Pipe Band, the Mass Brass Drum and Bugle Corps, Clan MacPherson Pipes & Drums, the Northeast Italian Band, the Stuart Highland Pipe Band and the Lowell High Band.

For the kids, the parade will feature the St. Joe's Clowns and the Aleppo Clowns.

The out-of-town entertainment booked for the parade is sponsored by donations from local businesses and fundraising done by the Friends of the Patriotic Activities Committee.

Complete listings of the three divisions marching in the parade this year are attached to this article in PDF files.

The parade will also have a serious tone to it. Todd Johnson, president of the Board of Directors of the, said that organization is in a crisis stage. According to Johnson, the recent Postal Carriers food collection drive collected less than 50 percent of its normal total in Tewksbury. For that reason, food donations are desperately needed.

"The cupboards are bare," said Johnson. "We really need the public's help."

Johnson is asking the public to bring non-perishable food (canned goods, boxed goods etc.) to the parade on Monday. Representatives from the Food Pantry will be marching along the parade route, collecting donations from residents.

The Food Pantry serves the needs of more than 200 Tewksbury families.

The following information was provided by Tewksbury Police Safety Officer Jennie Welch, regarding road closings and detours for the Memorial Day Parade on Monday.

"The Memorial Parade will be held on May 28th, 2012 at 2PM starting at the Ryan School and ending at Brooks Plaza (next to Mac's Dairy Farm).
All side streets that enter onto Main Street will be closed from approximately 12:45- 5PM. The detour for Main Street (northbound) heading towards Lowell from Wilmington line will be: Livingston Street to East Street to Main Street. The detour form Main Street (southbound) heading towards Wilmington from Lowell will be Marshall Street to Whipple Road to Shawsheen Street to Main Street.  Pleasant Street will be closed in both directions from 12PM for the parade marchers to line up."

Shihan Deb and Shihan Jeff May 25, 2012 at 03:01 AM
Jerry Selissen, Please note that The Self-Defense Institute will not be marching in the Parade this year.This decision was made final by us after your committee switched our group from Div 2(lining up at the TownHall like we have done for the past decade) to Div3 (lining up at the Ryan School,down on Pleasant St). As we previously explained to you,we have been in this Parade for 12yrs & we have lined up for yrs at Town Hall to accommodate all of our young walkers. With over 90 marchers(mostly children)this year,it did not make sense for us to line up at the Ryan School-Pleasant Street. The parade does not start until 2:00 p.m. Pleasant Street will be closing at noon and making children walk down to the Ryan school to lineup & then back down to Main Street in the warm weather is not in their best interest. The entire Div 2(as it was)has always fit at the Town Hall staging area w/room to spare so please do not say this.We do not understand why you think it was a good idea to switch the two martial arts schools’ divisions, when our group has more marchers and have been marching for years longer than the other one.You mentioned that the switch was made by your new committee to give all of the parties an opportunity.What opportunity?We march to honor the veterans.We do not get new business from this parade.The Self-Defense Institute not marching this year is the right decision,respected by many families in Tewksbury,and has been made in the best interest of our young students
Patricia Hourihan May 25, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I would just like to show my support to the above comment posted by Shihan Deb and Shihan Jeff. I have a child who has been marching in the Tewksbury Day Parade with the Self Defense Institute for over 10 years to honor our veterans and I find the entire issue of switching Divisons for no justifiable reason very sad for everyone.. I agree and support the Self Defense Institute in their decision not to march this year. I have nothing but the highest respect for the Self Defense Institute, (Shihan Deb and Jeff) their morals, their selflishness (how much they give of themselves back to the community) and I am sure their decision is respected by many many families in Tewksbury. Pattie H.
denise May 25, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I agree...I for one will miss seeing Self Defense Institute March this year...but i support their decision not to march...
lmo May 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM
My child would have been marching as well and I support their decision.
Jerry Selissen May 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
To the Parents of the Children from SDI: As the President of the Friends of the Tewksbury PAC, Inc. let me assure you that there was NO political decision involved with putting SDI in the 3rd division. As you can imagine orchestrating a Parade of this size is a logistical night mare and our decision to put SDI in the 3rd division was simply to balance out the 3 divisions. First and foremost the Service and Parade are about showing respect and reverence to all of our Veterans who have served this Country with Honor and paid the supreme sacrifice. This is NOT and NEVER will be a competition. If some parents and children from SDI are still interested in marching in the parade you are more than welcome to line-up at the Ryan School. Pleasant St WILL be open for parents to drop-off children and exit via Whipple Rd. Thanks, Jerry Selissen
Lona Ruggiero May 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM
My child would have been marching in the Parade as well. She has been a student of TSDI for over 6 years and I have seen first hand Shihan Jeff and Deb's support of the community as well as teaching community support to their students. I have also witnessed how much the crowd, including the Vets, enjoy seeing the students in the parade. I support their decision and I am dissapointed in the way this was handled. Lona Ruggiero
Karen Hodgson May 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
SDI: PLEASE REMEMBER - everyone is walking the same route, the same distance, and will be seen by the same audinece memebers. I volunteer my time to the PAC, & I know that it WAS NEVER ASKED of ANY of our parade participants to walk any extra distance to get to their line-up spot. Since you have participated for many years in our parade, I believe you know memembers are allowed to travel the closed off roads to get your troop in place. In regards to where people are located for the line-up, please know, we simple need to be wise and SAFE about where and how we line up thousands of people before the fun begins. Hopefully you noticed, that MANY of our returning, happy particpts. have been moved around, as well. This is a happy, & of course, IMPORTANT event for our Veterans, our community & all involved. I feel your choice to pull your company out of the parade is a very, very personal one --- but - look who is getting hurt: the kids. --- please, for the sake of the kids, relay the message WE WELCOME them & are OF COURSE!!! STILL INVITED to line up in the position given to your co., even if you still need to remove yourself. Kindly do not make your personal "take" on this upset the kids, who I'm sure, look forward to seeing their friends, lots of happy & apprecitive people of our town. I would like to add: THANK YOU to everyone else who works hard on pulling together as a community & having, Above all else, *HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY* ! Respectfully signed, Karen H. I
Bill Gilman (Editor) May 25, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Since this was an internal discussion, I had chosen not to write a story on it. However, those involved have chosen to take their accusations and rebuttals public, which I feel is a shame. TDSI has certainly been an outstanding member of the community of Tewksbury. There is no denying that. So is the Friends of the Tewksbury Patriotic Activities Committee and the parade committee, It has been said, marching in the parade is an honor and a privilige and is done to support the veterans. And that is how it should be. One thing should be made clear, the "division" one marches in at a parade carries with it no special significance. The folks in division 1 aren't more special or more important than those in Divisions 2 and 3. Marching in Division 1 give a group no special advantage over those in Divisions 2 and 3. And I think we can all agree all groups need to be treated equally, regardless of size or years of participation. As I have told my son, who plays college baseball, it doesn't matter whether you bat first in the order or ninth, you go up and take your swings and do your best.
Shihan Deb and Shihan Jeff May 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Hi Jerry, Per our conversation a few days ago, you told us that the switch in divisions of the two martial arts schools (your new lineup committee consciously took us out of Division 2 and put us in Division 3) would give all parties an opportunity. What opportunity? We would of had 90 marchers and lining up at town hall like we've done for years was the right thing to do. You wouldn't make the large groups of girl or boy scouts line up at the Ryan School. We made this decision with the best interest of our young students, sincerely. The Self-Defense Institute should not have been treated with way and our students will never suffer for the decision made by the NEW lineup committee. It is what it is and we are moving on. We have principles and we are done with this subject for this year, sincerely
Maureen Castiglione May 25, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I am also no the committee, and I back up everything Karen said. The only people who have a "designated" place in the parade are our Elected Officials -- who march at the very front of the parade so they may take their place on the reviewing stand set up at the end of the parade route. In addition, if you look at the list of participants, there are approximately 45 groups/units that need to be organized. This takes time and planning. You don't want 2 bands marching next to each other, the same way you don't want 4 'trucks' in a row etc. I'm also friends with many parents from TSDI, and a few of them e-mail me to ask what had happened. I told them we restructured the parade to make it more balanced, and it was absolutely not a political decision. That is all there was to it.
Tewksbury Parent May 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
As I see it a big deal has been made out of nothing.....This is disrespectful to the Veterans and to the Children who had been looking forward to this. Adults need to put their pride aside and do sometimes what is best for others. Also, when my daughter was a Girl Scout we did line up at the Ryan School and my daughter was only 5 years old....we did the whole entire walk no problem at all. Maybe you should have consulted the parents. The way I see it, your pride was hurt. You are not thinking of anyone else but yourselves. If my daughter did it at five your kids can too. Maybe you ought to be thankful for those who died giving you the freedoms you have today instead of worrying "where you are in line" I would expect to hear that from children, not grown adults!!!!
RunningGreen May 25, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Just my two cents: The purpose of the parade is to honor the veterans, not to argue which karate place has the higher division. Please remember the true purpose of the parade and don't let petty arguments overshadow that.
Ron Hall May 25, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Shihan Deb and Shihan Jeff, Please, lets try to be honest about this. Your REAL motivation about pulling out of the parade is that one of your competitors was placed before you in the parade. Who are you hurting? Your students. I can assure you that this was not done to offend you. Suck it up like adults and let the kids march in the parade. Remember it's not about you, it's about honoring our Veterans.
Diane R May 25, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I would like to say thank you to Karen H and Bill Gilman for their posts. No division is any more important then another. Everyone walks the same distance, every passes the same crowd and everyone is there for the same reason to celebrate the Veterans. It is sad how some adults take it upon themselves to ruin a good thing for everyone else. The TSDI will be missed this year in the parade but the parade will go on and it will be a great one at that. Happy Memorial Day to all.
Walter White May 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
This is crazy. Pull out of the parade because your feelings are hurt? How pathetic.
Resident May 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM
What an ass. Jerry you should be ashamed of yourself. Every committee you have been on has gone down the tubes. Time to hang up your hat! Let the younger generation of Tewksbury take over. This sounds like this would not be a big deal to accommodate All participates. Homecoming down the drain now the parade, quit please
T. May 28, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Wow...as a combat veteran, I can only say that pulling the children out of today's parade because of your pissy self-importance casts a shadow of shame over you and insults the memory of those we strive to honor. You need to suck it up and set a better example for the kids you serve. Jeesh...
Bob Rauseo May 28, 2012 at 06:39 PM
To 'Resident": I suggest you become more than just a "resident." - use your actual name - volunteer for committees - spend hundreds of hours at no pay organizing events. - take the abuse from anonymous critics. It is all too easy to sit back and criticize others. If you think things could be better than work hard to make it so. Bob Rauseo A resident who appreciates those who volunteer
denise May 28, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Great parade...thank you...
Michael Adams May 28, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Deb and Jeff, , BETTER TO UNDERSTAND, THAN TO BE UNDERSTOOD! You missed a great parade. Kudos to those who volunteered many hours to pull this off! My family enjoyed it all and cant wait till next year, hopefully SDI will put their pride in check and show up to honor those serve and those who gave all so we can to live free!!!!
Walter White May 28, 2012 at 11:12 PM
ahhh... the parade went on even without SDI's participation.Trying to drum up sympathy in a public forum is not the way to go, especially for the reasons that were listed....unreal.. Anyways....with that said...What a great day and great parade! Thank you to all the volunteers and the marchers!
Walter White May 28, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Well said Bill
Kathleen Brothers May 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
It was a wonderful parade! Thanks to TPAC members for a fine day! You are right, Mellisa what would the town do with all the tireless work of all these volunteers?
Kathleen Brothers May 29, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Opps...should say without all the tireless work.....
Melissa Gleaton May 29, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I just wanted to thank everyone for a great parade yesterday. As a participant I thought the parade was very well organized. I can only imagine the legwork that has to be done to pull it off. Hats off to Jerry and the entire Committee. As a participant, I had a great experience, and from the looks of it, the throngs of parade watchers did as well. Walking along that route, and seeing many veterans who lost buddies in various wars smile, wave, appreciating the "never forget". THAT made my day.
Robert Bennett May 29, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I read this article and was glad to see a nice parade was held and people were collecting food for the pantry. I served in the military and it is nice for people to show their appreciation for those who served. The comments that follow go all kinds of crazy. I can't believe an organization would pull out of a parade because of their place in line. Seriously? The argument that the Ryan School is too far seems unfounded. It can't be more than 1000 feet to the Town Hall from there. Trust me, the kids could care less and would have a blast no matter what. I think Jerry Selissen and all the volunteers should be commended for what they do for this town. Stories like this make me sit back and shake my head.

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