In 1817, nearly 40 years after the Revolutionary War, the first parade commemorating the anniversary of the Paoli Massacre was held. More than 400 volunteer troops participated "in a slow solemn march."
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, an organization of former Union soldiers and sailors - the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) - established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The first large observance was held that year on May 30 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
The Malvern Memorial Parade draws its heritage from these two commemorations. Tradition says the first Malvern Parade was held in 1869, the oldest continuing Memorial Parade in the country. Today, the Upper Main Line Veterans of Foreign Wars Post # 5203 is the host veteran organization and the Parade is sponsored by the Upper Main Line Memorial Association.
From the beginning, the idea of a Decoration Day parade rapidly grew in popularity, as local veterans posts sought to have their own parades. Malvern, West Chester and Wayne were no exception. It was from this dilemma that the specific day of the Malvern Parade was established. Early on, the three communities decided that West Chester would hold their parade the day before, Wayne the day of, and Malvern the Sunday after Decoration Day (now Memorial Day). That tradition has been maintained ever since. And each year the parade ends at this site with patriotic addresses, band music and quite often a reenactment.