Wilton residents gather at Hillside Cemetery on Memorial Day to honor lives lost

This year marked the second in a row that Wilton was unable to hold a Memorial Day parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, town members, veterans, scout groups and first responders attended a brief but intimate ceremony at Hillside Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 31.

As a part of the Parade Committee, American Legion Post 86 Adjutant Tom Moore told Hearst Connecticut Media one week prior to the day of remembrance that the parade, which is typically planned many months in advance, presented too many hurdles to clear when trying to organize in a short period of time.

Despite that, there was ample time to organize a ceremony at Hillside Cemetery to honor the lives of those who have fallen while serving in the United States armed forces.

Residents arrived under slightly overcast skies on Monday and organized around the flagpole near the Ridgefield Road entrance. Frank Dunn welcomed the crowd and began the ceremony, serving as the grand marshal.

Wilton High School student and singer Lily Mikita belted out “God Bless America” as residents watched, some with their heads slightly bowed.

Dunn, a Korean War-era veteraN weaved through his words prepared with purpose, and introduced guest speaker Jim Newton, a United States Marine Corps veteran.

The Rev. Reggie Norman from Our Lady of Fatima Church then provided a prayer for those fallen soldiers and their families, and the flag was lowered to half-staff.

Wilton American Legion members stood at attention, and Drew Kennedy filled the chilly Monday morning air with vibrations from his bagpipes.

Dunn closed the ceremony and, even just for a moment, residents shook hands, hugged and embraced each other before returning to their vehicles, parked along the cemetery's narrow roadways.