Remembrance Day Parade Route Changed, Security Increased Due to ‘Verified Threat’, Police Say
By Jamie Welch, Editor-in-Chief
Gettysburg Borough Police in conjunction with other local, state and federal agencies are beefing up security in response to a “verified threat” to the Remembrance Day parade planned for this Saturday in Gettysburg.
A statement issued by the borough Friday requests attendees not bring backpacks and/or coolers to the Remembrance Day parade route or viewing areas of the scheduled events.
Additionally, The Gettysburg Times has reported that the parade route has been cut to one-third of the original length to maximize police presence and ensure the safety of participants and attendees.
Revised plans call for the parade to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gettysburg Area Middle School. It is set to proceed along Lefever Street and Baltimore Street to Steinwehr Avenue, concluding at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery located off of Taneytown Road. The new route excludes portions of Middle Street and northern Baltimore Street that ordinarily are included in the route, Borough Police Chief Joe Dougherty said.
The 61st annual parade is part of a larger set of Remembrance Day weekend activities to mark the anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery by President Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 19, 1863, at which Lincoln delivered his famed Gettysburg Address.
These measures are being taken in response to correspondence received by the Gettysburg Times Nov. 6 that threatened to “disrupt the whole weekend” in specific ways. The newspaper said it alerted authorities as soon as it received the threats.
Organizers released a statement on the Gettysburg Remembrance Day Parade Facebook page Sunday.
“If and we are saying if any of these anti-Confederate ‘groups’ are in the crowd, DO NOT ENGAGE THEM! They will look for confrontation that they can film to make us look bad,” the statement said in part.
“We are also disappointed that we must shorten the parade. We share your disgust that an individual/individuals would try to disrupt the largest and oldest Civil War parade in the United States,” the statement continued.
A statement released Monday on the same page said, “Please remember that percussion caps, powder, ammunition, explosive or incendiary devices shall not be carried by any of the participants in the Remembrance Day Parade.”
Dougherty told The Gettysburg Times Thursday that the public should not “have a feeling of panic…[because] we are doing everything law enforcement can do.”
“We don’t want to cancel the parade, because then the bad guys win. We can’t have bad guys dictate to us what we can do in our town,” he said.