Boonsboro remembered the fallen Sunday during a solemn Memorial Day service.
Then the southern Washington County town’s downtown was filled with sounds of celebration as onlookers cheered, applauded and waved as a parade of musicians, Cub Scouts, cheerleaders and public servants came down Main Street.
Many of the people in the parade, including politicians and children, tossed candy to the spectators as they made their way down the parade route. Children darted around adults and parked vehicles to pick up Tootsie Rolls, chocolates, licorice and other candies.
Wyatt McNamara, 4, spun his arms around in circles as he and brother, Connor, 5, watched their big brother Robert, 7, hold a banner for Cub Scout Pack 20 as it marched by.
Asked what his favorite part of the parade was, Connor whispered the answer to his mom, Keedysville resident Angela McNamara, who relayed the answer: “The candy from the firetrucks.”
“I like the firetrucks because I like the noises they make,” said Chase Dorsey, 10.
Chase plays for South Mountain Little League, which had a truckload of players in the parade, but Chase chose instead to stand on the sidelines and gather up candy tossed his way.
While Chase had a white plastic bag holding quite a bit of candy, he said he got a lot more candy last Halloween.
Chase and his sister, Ciara, 6, had prime parade-watching spots in the shade thanks to Sallie Dorsey, aka “mom-mom,” who lives on North Main Street.
Ciara said her favorite part of the parade was “the girls dancing.”
Alexia Spillan, 6, of Hagerstown, said her favorite part was when she threw her baton in the air. Alexia was in the parade with the Washington County Show Kids.
This was Alexia’s third parade this month and second this weekend after she marched in Saturday’s Sharpsburg Memorial Day parade, said her mother, Lisa Tregoning.
Austin Udy, 11, of Boonsboro, liked it when the cheerleaders went by. Austin said he was glad to see that the smaller cheerleaders got to march, not just the more experienced cheerleaders.
His sister, Amanda, 9, was marching in her first parade, as part of the Brownies.
“It was really weird,” Amanda said of the experience. “I saw a lot of people I knew.”
By the time she reached the spot where her family was watching, Amanda was out of candy to toss, so big brother Austin ran home to get her more candy, their mom Holly Udy said.
“He had to chase us like halfway down the street,” Amanda said.
Before the parade, there was a quieter service in front of Town Hall to remember the meaning of the day.
Guest speaker Clarence M. Bacon, past national commander for the American Legion, talked about how the holiday had been set aside “to honor and pay tribute to our fallen military heroes, those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom and way of life.”
“Americans have a heritage of paying a heavy price in protecting our homeland and national security interests around the globe from those who wish to do us harm, to change our way of life, to take away our hard-earned freedom,” Bacon said.