Freehold is a very patriotic town and so Memorial Day is one of the most important days on the calendar. American Legion Post 54, its members and its building, is and has been a vital part of the day. Located on Main Street in the center of town, our post home is the main hub of activities before, during, and after the parade. The Freehold Memorial Day Parade is the oldest and largest in western Monmouth County and has been in existence for over 140 years. Early in the morning of last Monday in May the members of all of the town's five veteran groups assemble at the post, in preparation for the Elks Point ceremony before the parade. At 8:15 AM all the units line up in front of our building before stepping off to march the approximately half mile from Post 54 to Elks Point. Elks Point has become Freehold's tribute to its veterans. There is a marker for every Freehold area resident that has been killed in war, going back to the Revolutionary war. There is a granite World War 2 honor roll that lists the name of every Freehold resident who served in the armed forces during that war. There are Purple Heart and Korean War monuments and the walkways are named "Court of Honor" and "WWII Honor Roll." At 8:30 the ceremony begins with an opening prayer followed by a few speeches by leaders. New flags are then placed on the markers of all the war dead while their names are read off. The main flag is then raised then lowered to half staff followed by a 21 gun salute given by the American Legion Post 54 and finally a closing prayer. All the veteran groups then return to our post until it's time to step off for the parade, which begins promptly at 10:00. Veteran organizations always lead the parade, taking turns as the first unit each year. As the units complete the parade route they return to Post 54 where our S.A.L. Squadron and Auxiliary Unit provide salads, hot dogs, and hamburgers to the town. On Memorial Day in Freehold, Post 54 is the place to be.
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