WETHERSFIELD - Wethersfield is planning a massive Memorial Day parade to honor its veterans--both living and deceased.
The May 25 event will begin at 9 a.m. with a parade formation at the Department of Motor Vehicles on State Street, according to Memorial Day Committee Chairman Larry Spellacy. The procession will feature a wide variety of organizations, including the police and fire departments, local scout troops, and the Wethersfield High School Marching Band, as well as federal, state and local government officials, Spellacy said.
The parade has been held annually since the late 1970’s, and the turnout is typically pretty good, Spellacy said.
“In terms of the number of participants, it’s a lot,” Spellacy said. “I would guess on an excess of a thousand people--probably two to three times the number of people lining the streets [watching]. It’s quite a celebration.”
This year will center on World War II veterans, namely Charles Officer, an American Legion member who served during that period, Spellacy said.
“We honor a particular group every year, although it’s not exclusive,” he said. “This year our theme is, ‘Let us not forget.’”
The parade is being co-sponsored by the American Legion, along with Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign War, and the Wethersfield Parks and Recreation Department. Although the roughly $5,000 it will cost to hold the event was a budget line item, residents are welcome to send donations to Town Hall, Spellacy said.
The 1.2-mile march, which is estimated to take about an hour to complete, will leave State Street and follow a route that goes through Old Wethersfield, as well as the Broad Street Green, and finish at the cemetery entrance at Marsh Street. A memorial service will be held inside the cemetery, along with the reading of the names of veterans who lost their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Town Council and Board of Education members will march alongside state and federal officials in the parade, Spellacy said. State Senator Chris Murphy will be participating, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is expected a well.
“He said he [Blumenthal] plans on attending, but their schedule is so busy, they don’t usually commit until the very end, but he’s been there every year,” Spellacy said.
The post-parade ceremony will also feature a short presentation by Silas Deane Middle School eighth-grader Alexis Maher, whose essay on the holiday won a Memorial Day Committee contest.