Litchfield Always Remembers on Memorial DayMay 29, 2015
by Lynne Ober
Even though the skies were gray, there was a huge crowd at Litchfield’s Memorial Day Remembrance. As always the parade was an eagerly awaited event. People brought chairs and blankets and lined the edges of Route 102. Children played while parents chatted with friends. The parade stages at the school, so you cannot see it start, but you always know when it is coming because the sirens fill the air, and everyone cranes their necks to see the start.
The parade is filled with joy and community pride. All groups participate – some walk and some ride. Of course, the groups that carry bags of candy and throw the candy into the audience are the biggest hit with the kids. One father said that his daughter captured more candy here than at Easter, commenting that the last of the Easter candy was finally gone.
Leading the parade are always the fire apparatus. The engines sound their sirens and flash their lights. Hands are waved as each slowly drives by. The Campbell High School Band always participates in this event, and a number of band members were gathered together discussing who would catch the most candy when a fire engine was spotted throwing things and the competition was on. What a surprise the band members had when they realized that the fire engine was occasionally squirting water into the audience, which bought a big laugh to one and all.
The floats had a Memorial Day theme of remembrance. They were enthusiastically applauded as they slowly paraded past the crowd. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and sports teams all walked in the parade. If you are a classic car fan, you would have loved the cars. Nightmare New England brought their tiny cars and gave out coupons. Bikes and scooters were decorated in patriotic colors and proudly ridden in the parade.
After the parade ended, everyone moved into the parking lot between the fire station and historical society for a moving program filled with music, patriotic speeches and thanks for all who have served.
As before a warm and stirring welcome was offered by Litchfield resident Dr. Stephen Calawa. The Boy Scouts presented the colors, and the audience joined in the Pledge of Allegiance before everyone sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Margaret Parent was gracious and inspiring in her speech about Memorial Day. It was a day to remember the 150th end of the Civil War, the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam War and to remember the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
This year words were passed out, and the audience joined the Campbell High School Band and choirs in singing. Dr. Calawa made closing remarks before the important wreath placement in memory of all who served. During this ceremony “Taps” was played by Christian Wallenmaier and Griffin Kmon on trumpet and Tom Wallace on trombone.
Everyone was invited to view the display of Civil War artifacts in the Historical Society Building at the end of the ceremony.