A parade to remember
“Salute our Heroes” is the slogan for this year’s Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 30.
At 10 a.m., parade participants will set out from the back of Executive Campus on River Road.
Marching will be veterans, bagpipers, military vehicles, antique cars, emergency vehicles, dignitaries, scouts, the Wilton High School band, local groups including Ambler Farm, the Wilton Garden Club, and Stay at Home in Wilton, and sports teams such as softball, baseball, lacrosse, and the Wilton Wahoos swim team.
After stopping at the Veterans Memorial Green to salute the memorial pillars, they’ll turn up onto Ridgefield Road, continue past Old Town Hall and Wilton Congregational Church on up to Hillside Cemetery, where an 11 a.m. memorial service is planned for those who have died in service to their country.
“That’s the most important part of the parade,” said Ray Tobiassen, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and chair of the parade committee. “That’s why we have the parade. We invite and encourage everybody that can to come up to the cemetery.”
Rev. Steve Kim of Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church will give the invocation and the first selectman will read a proclamation. The grand marshal will be World War II Navy veteran James Turnbull, and this year’s keynote speaker is retired Marine Corps LtCol Chris Ladd.
Drew Kennedy will handle lead bagpipes and Trevor Brown, a sophomore at Wilton High School, will be the tribute singer, singing the national anthem.
“We’ll have a cannon salute, and the police will be there to do a rifle salute,” Tobiassen said.
River Road will be closed to traffic beginning at 9:45, and Ridgefield Road at Drum Hill Road and Belden Hill Road will be closed as well.
The annual Memorial Day parade honors and remembers the fallen heroes that gave their lives in service to the greater good of ensuring our nation’s protection.
“The veterans are the reason we even have a celebration,” Tobiassen said. “If it wasn’t for the veterans, we wouldn’t be free.”
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.
The committee is still accepting donations. Checks should be made out to “Memorial Day Parade Fund” and mailed to Memorial Day 2016 Parade Fund, P.O. Box 75, Wilton, CT 06897.
Tobiassen said people planning to participate in the parade should gather at Executive Campus at 9 a.m.
Dial-a-Ride vans will be at Wilton Congregational Church, 70 Danbury Road, to take seniors and those with disabilities to the Hillside ceremony. There will also be a pick-up location at the church for parents getting their children and for people not going to the service. The church will be giving out water and hot dogs.
Wilton’s Economic Development Commission will be making a video of the event with interviews for future viewing.