— photos by Bryan Haeffele/Hearst Connecticut Media
Pancakes, bagpipes and cannons — they are the familiar sights, sounds — and tastes — of Wilton’s Memorial Day parade, scheduled to step off on Monday, May 27, at 10 a.m. along River Road.
There will also be veterans, emergency responders, military vehicles, antique cars, emergency vehicles, dignitaries, Scout troops, the Wilton High School band, and marchers representing local organizations and sports teams.
After a stop at the Veterans Memorial Green, the parade will make its way up Ridgefield Road to Hillside Cemetery for a memorial service that is expected to start around 11.
There will be opening remarks, a proclamation and parade grand marshal Gordon Nugent, who served in the Navy during World War II, will be introduced.
This year’s keynote speaker is Sean Powers, a former Army helicopter pilot and retired New York City police officer. He is also commander of the American Legion post headquartered at the Intrepid Musuem in Manhattan.
Hannah Mikita, a student at Wilton High School, will sing the national anthem. After a wreath is laid, the names of Wilton veterans who died this past year will be read. As the names are read, a bell will be tolled for each one.
The Rev. Caroline Smith of Wilton Baptist Church will offer the benediction, followed by the playing of Taps.
Prior to the parade, the Wilton Kiwanis Club will serve its annual pancake breakfast, beginning at 8 a.m., at Wilton Congregational Church, 70 Ridgefield Road. Breakfast includes all-you-can-eat blueberry pancakes, sausages, juice and coffee. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12, and children under 5 eat for free.
Although Monday is expected to be at least partly sunny, should inclement weather force cancellation of the parade, the remembrance ceremony will be held at 10:30 at Wilton Congregational Church. An announcement will be made on The Bulletin’s website, wiltonbulletin.com, and by emergency email alert, which people may sign up for on the town website, wiltonct.org.
Dial-A-Ride vans will be stationed at Wilton Congregational Church to take seniors and those with disabilities to the Hillside ceremony. There will be a pickup area at Wilton Congregational Church for parents picking up their children and for those not continuing to Hillside. The church will be giving out water.
River Road will be closed to traffic at approximately 9:30, and Ridgefield Road at Drum Hill Road and Belden Hill Road will be closed as well.
Those planning on marching should gather at the back of the Kimco parking lot behind Stop & Shop. Everyone needs to register and sign in.
The Memorial Day parade and parade committee are independent of the town and receive no municipal funds.The committee relies on private donations to pay its expenses, including hiring the bagpipers and purchasing banners and flags.
Each year, the committee places flags on the 400 military graves in Wilton.
Checks may be made out to the “Memorial Day Parade Fund” and mailed to Memorial Day 2019 Parade Fund, P.O. Box 75, Wilton CT 06897.