The Borough of Raritan, NJ will host its 37th Annual John Basilone Memorial Parade on September 23rd. Marine Sergeant Basilone received the Nation’s highest medal of valor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Rather than committing himself to publicity activities, the Sergeant refused to stay out of action and returned to continue his fight in the Pacific. His heroism continued during the Battle of Iwo Jima, where in 1945, he was killed in action on the first day of the invasion, after single-handedly destroying an enemy blockhouse and leading a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield. He posthumously received the Navy Cross, the United States military’s second-highest decoration awarded for valor in combat.
The impact of John Basilone’s love of country and devotion to duty was featured in the HBO series “The Pacific.” He has received many honors including being the namesake for streets, military locations and two United States Navy destroyers, but it is Raritan, NJ where his family made its home that the heartfelt expression of pride resonates most deeply.
This year’s parade will include military groups and veterans’ organizations, floats, cyclists, scout groups, ROTC units, Civil Air Patrol Cadets, military vehicles, Marine detachments, fire companies, rescue squads and other patriotic civil groups. The parade will begin in Raritan at 1:00 pm.
The celebration in honor of the esteemed war hero will begin on Friday, September 21st, with the dedication of the Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone Post Office at St. Joseph Church at 10:00 am. One Saturday, September 22nd, a 5K Run “Manila Madness,” will start from the Basilone Statue at 10:00 am. A concert featuring the Belle Tones will be presented at the Raritan Public Library at 1:00 pm.
Preceding the Parade on Sunday, the John Basilone Museum at the Raritan Public Library will be open to visitors at 9:30 am and a Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Ann Church at 10:00 am.