Parade candy sparks debate in Lockport

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)- Those marching in the Lockport Memorial Day Parade will gather at Veteran’s Park Sunday afternoon.

Teresa Manna won’t be there; she says it’s because she spoke up.

Manna founded the the United Stockings Sailors Soldiers, a group that sends care packages to those serving abroad.

Since 2011, the group’s been participating in the Lockport Memorial Day Parade.

This year, Manna claims a disagreement over candy got her kicked out.

She wrote a letter expressing her opposition to the rules, which clearly prohibit candy from being thrown.

“At the graves and at the monuments, they place wreaths and they place the flags and that is a mourning process. At the parade, it’s supposed to be joyful, wonderful, a celebration, the kids are out, families are out,” she said.

The American Legion is hosting the parade this year. Mike Hanley is the commander of the post. He feels allowing candy to be passed out would be like “throwing candy at a funeral.”

Hanley is also concerned about crowd control, and safety.

“You can talk to some of the fireman who drive their trucks,” Hanley tells News 4. He says the firefighters are worried about kids running in front of vehicles.

Hanley also feels allowing candy takes away from what the parade is supposed to be about.

“It’s all about the veterans who never made it home.”

Manna, who comes from a military family, doesn’t think candy is disrespectful.

She also feels the Legion is sending mixed messages by allowing a community party to take place after the parade.

“It’s just something all the kids look forward to,” she says.

Many parades around the country don’t allow candy to be thrown for Memorial Day, for the same reason Hanley doesn’t.

“She’s been told two times over the years and she just refuses. It’s a very simple thing, follow our rules,” he says.

There will be dozens of local veterans marching in Sunday’s parade.

The honorary Grand Marshall is a Korean War veteran who’s in his 80s.

While Manna is not allowed to march in the parade, she plans to attend in the crowd, and show support for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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