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Rolling parade honors Newton veterans on Memorial Day

A float honoring Pearl Harbor veterans wove through Newton on Memorial Day.
A float honoring Pearl Harbor veterans wove through Newton on Memorial Day.Micaela Vecchione

To honor veterans and “keep tributes going,” the Nonantum Children’s Christmas Party Association hosted a rolling parade in which, despite the heavy rain, about 20 floats and dozens of residents paraded down the streets of Newton.

Linda Pellegrini Anderson, treasurer of the association, said she was glad they were able to continue with the Memorial Day event despite the pandemic.

“We were still able to do it for our vets and people that we lost,” Pellegrini Anderson said.

As the Rolling Memorial Day Parade moved down the streets on May 31, Newton residents cheered and waved from the sidewalks. A DJ and a singer on a float played music — stopping outside the veterans’ houses to play specific songs from the military branch where the veteran had served. Many floats were trucks carrying American flags and signs representing certain veterans.

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For example, one float represented Sept. 11 and the veterans who lost their lives there, while others represented Pearl Harbor, first responders, veteran suicide awareness, prisoners of war, Boston Strong, among other tributes.

A float honoring Sept. 11 and veteran suicide awareness wove through Newton on Memorial Day.
A float honoring Sept. 11 and veteran suicide awareness wove through Newton on Memorial Day.Micaela Vecchione

One of the veterans the parade stopped for was Charles Michael Cerone. Cerone was stationed in Germany during the Cold War and served from 1967 to 1969. When the floats unexpectedly stopped by Cerone’s house, he said it was “unexpected and very emotional to see my grandchildren applaud me and my family applaud me.”

“I think of all the great men that died, all the great guys that were with me.” Cerone said. “That’s what memorial day means with me.”

The rolling parade wove through Nonantum, Newtonville, West Newton, Auburndale, Waltham, and Watertown. During the days before the event, Anthony Clemente, an event organizer, said he and his peers worked hard to prepare and secure the floats for the pouring rain.

The Nonantum Children’s Christmas Party Association, a nonprofit established in 1954, hosts holiday events, sponsors camp scholarships for kids in the city, among other things, said Pellegrini Anderson.

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Anthony Pellegrini Jr., chairman of the association and sister to Pellegrini Anderson, said it was difficult to keep the memorial parade going due to the pandemic, but they “found a way.”

Pellegrini Anderson said they hope to have a regular Memorial Day parade next year, but in the end, the goal will be the same no matter what format.

“If we can do a parade that would be great, if not we will do the same — to still be able to recognize and not forget our vets,” Pellegrini Anderson said.

Eric Fok can be reached at newtonreport@globe.com.

A float honoring prisoners of war wove through Newton on Memorial Day.
A float honoring prisoners of war wove through Newton on Memorial Day.Micaela Vecchione