Full weekend of Memorial Day activities planned in Sewickley

Bobby Cherry
| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sewickley Mayor Brian Jeffe said he can't think of another community that puts together a tribute to veterans the way Sewickley does Memorial Day weekend.

“Name another town that does a four-day tribute to the veterans. It's unique to Sewickley.

“I can honestly say it's the best thing Sewickley does,” Jeffe said of the weekend of events, which kickoff 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, with a flag retirement ceremony near Wolcott Park on Broad Street. “It's a real honor for the veterans.”

But it takes money and volunteers to organize the annual weekend, Jeffe said. Almost all of the weekend's costs are paid for through private donations and corporate sponsorships, he said.

About $18,000 is spent on events, including the borough's annual Memorial Day parade, which will celebrate 122 years and is one of the oldest in the Commonwealth, Jeffe said.

Another $15,000 to $17,000 is spent on fireworks, Jeffe said, adding that organizers are seeking a corporate sponsor.

The fireworks display — lit at dusk May 24 — is “not a celebration like the Fourth of July,” Jeffe said. “It's a tribute to the veterans.”

The Memorial Day committee's goal is to have expenses “100 percent covered by donations,” he said. “We've been trying to do that over the last couple of years.”

One of Jeffe's goals is to recruit younger veterans to help plan the weekend of events. Historically, area veterans organized the committee's events, Jeffe said. While the committee still is made up of many veterans, it lacks younger ones.

“Some of the committee members served in World War II,” Jeffe said. “It's truly an honor sitting on this committee with them. This is something near and dear to their hearts. They're a passionate group, and they've got this event down. What we really need are younger veterans to help us organize.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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