BY ANN GENADERWEST MILFORD — The 74th annual Memorial Day ceremonies to honor those who died in defending the nation during its times of war will be held on Monday, May 29 starting at 10 a.m. in Veterans Park.The West Milford High School Band will open the ceremony with patriotic music. The traditional service to remember and honor those who died follows, with a parade afterward along Union Valley Road, Marshall Hill Road, and Lincoln Avenue to the Frank M. Sell Post 289 West Milford American Legion Hall.Memorial rituals will be conducted by the Legion Post and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7198. There will be roll call of those who died defending the nation in its wars and for West Milford citizens killed in the 9/11/2001 terror attacks.Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, having been a time set aside to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868. After World War I, observances also began to honor those who died in all of the United States wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May,Today, Memorial Day is observed at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. A wreath is also placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.In 1944, the late Township Attorney Louis Wallisch initiated organization of West Milford’s first Memorial Day observance and parade. This and parades in the years that followed started at the intersection of Union Valley and Macopin Roads and proceeded to the original town hall (now West Milford Museum) where the viewing stand was located an ceremonies took place. Gold Star Mothers, whose sons died in wars, were seated with town officials on the viewing stand.For many years, the late Robert (Bob) Gobel as president of the Veterans Council was instrumental in planning the event.The township did not have its own high school, so there was no school band to play at the ceremony. The township hired a marching band from Franklin which played for cash. The parade could not start until 1 p.m. because the band was engaged to play for a parade in their home town that morning. In other years, a band from Greenwood Lake Village marched and played in the parade.Around 1973 the current route was established to proceed from the town hall to the Legion Post headquarters.