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Plans are underway for an abbreviated version of the annual Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

HUNTINGTON — While the number of public observances will be fewer, and those that are taking place will have restrictions implemented for safety, citizens in the Tri-State still will have ways on Memorial Day to honor the memory of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The 152nd Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade will still take place, preserving its status as the longest continually running Memorial Day parade in the United States.

However, this year’s parade will have no spectators, it will run only three blocks instead of its usual 3.7 miles and it will last 20 to 30 minutes instead of two hours or longer.

The theme is “Honor-Respect-Thanks,” which will focus on the veterans who have been the inspiration behind the legendary parade since the first one more than 150 years ago.

The parade will start at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, with an honor guard and a 21-gun salute. There will be a riderless horse, veterans units, the Ironton Police Department, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol officers, among others.

People are urged to stay home and watch the parade online, where it will be livestreamed on the parade Facebook page, City fire trucks will be stationed along the parade route for security.

Jim Rowe, a longtime parade committee member, will serve as grand marshal. Sally Inglis, a U.S. Army veteran, will be honorary grand marshal, and Lou Pyles, a former grand marshal and a committee member, will be parade commander. The parade will begin on South 3rd and Center streets and end at South 3rd and Washington streets.

In Huntington, members of the community are encouraged to participate in the “Cruise to Remember” on Monday.

The event, which was planned after the Veterans Committee for Civic Improvement canceled the annual Memorial Day ceremonies scheduled at the Memorial Arch due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be similar to an old-fashioned “cruise” through town.

It will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the Save-A-Lot on 14th Street West, wind through Ritter Park, drive by Cabell Huntington Hospital and make its way back to Save-A-Lot. Participants are encouraged to decorate their vehicles with patriotic themes and posters with names of veterans.

Participants should be at Save-A-Lot by 10:45 a.m. For more information, call 304-751-2823.

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