‘It was like being reborn’: Large crowds gather in Northeast Ohio for ‘closer to normal’ Memorial Day

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NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio (WJW) — After a year in which most everything was virtual, crowds emerged from behind their masks and the quiet of their homes to gather again for memorial in bigger numbers than some have ever seen.

New Franklin‘s 2020 Memorial Day observance was held virtually, video recorded in advance.

Mayor Paul Adamson on Monday was beaming as he welcomed people back to something that seemed closer to normal.

“It’s like somebody popped a cork and all the enthusiasm and all the pent-up joy came out,” said Adamson, looking over what he believed to be the largest turnout ever for the community’s 2021 Memorial Day ceremony.

“We were so kind of eager to get back to something kind of normal and something real and something beautiful and particularly something community and that’s what came out today,” Adamson told Fox 8 News.

“If you look around everybody is just smiling and they can’t help but be thrilled to be together and especially for something like this,” said Katie Smith.

Chris Lippincott organizes the parade and rode in this year’s after a year when nothing was normal.

“It just didn’t have the energy and the excitement that we had this year which is why I think this year is so big because everybody misses having their parade every year,” said Lippincott.

“Just everybody along the sides, they were so excited. We had a bubble machine going and threw out bouncy balls and it was something to see so many people out this year,” she added.

“It was like being reborn, it really was,” said Robert Keith.

In many other communities across Northeast Ohio, the story on Monday was the same.

Helped by beautiful weather and the ability to once again safely gather in numbers outdoors without masks, people seemed more than ready to do just that.

“It’s really good,” said Dave Galloway, a Vietnam veteran and the grand marshal of New Franklin’s 2021 parade.

“Since COVID hit, it’s unbelievable, it’s amazing that the people they come out because of the Vietnam veterans. It’s been so long ago, they still respect their veterans,” he concluded.

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