It literally rained on East Lansdowne’s parade on Saturday, but the showers did not stop the borough from celebrating its 100th Fourth of July parade as planned.
The opening ceremony began at 11:30 with speakers former Mayor Bill Smyrl, state Rep. Margo Davidson (D-164), current Mayor John Dukes, Jr., East Lansdowne Councilman Majovie (Joe) Bland and Delaware County Council Chairman Mario Civera, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Moses Dennis asked residents for a moment of silence for invocation. In his attempt to keep residents’ spirits up despite the rain, he referred to the rain as “showers of blessing.”
The Richard L. Carmichael American Legion conducted the raising of the American flag while Rose Wells sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Wells has sung at East Lansdowne’s Independence Day parades for the last 20 years and has sung at churches and funerals.
Smyrl is an American Legion member who was recognized at the ceremony for his part as a volunteer in the planning of the parade. As a World War II veteran, Smyrl was awarded the Purple Heart medal and six bronze stars.
“If you look in the dictionary under the word ‘gentleman,’ you’ll see his name,” Dukes said of Smyrl. “I can’t imagine us getting through this day without Bill.”
Dukes joked that Smyrl was the first parade marshal.
Davidson presented a citation to honor the borough for celebrating the Fourth of July for 100 years.
“Throughout its history, the community has been blessed with a succession of amazing civic leaders whose guidance and leadership have helped it to grow and flourish,” Davidson said. “Today, the Borough of East Lansdowne looks forward to the future with the same hope that filled the hearts of its early settlers.”
Fire engines from Yeadon, Clifton Heights, Upper Darby Township and East Lansdowne drifted along with the parade. Clifton Heights used its 1948 Mack fire engine for the celebration.
Residents stood with umbrellas up as the parade began at 12:30. People threw candy from fire trucks and the floats, and onlooking children raced to grab the Tootsie Rolls and Dum Dums before the rain made them soggy.