Towns to commemorate Memorial Day

World War II veteran William Wright leads the Naugatuck Memorial Day parade last year as grand marshal. This year’s grand marshal for the Naugatuck parade will be long-time Burgess and U.S. Navy veteran Robert Burns. –FILE PHOTO


Memorial Day: A day to remember those who have given their lives in service to the United States of America.

It originally began as a day to remember those who fell during America’s Civil War, but has grown to encompass those who have died while serving in all of the country’s wars.

In remembrance, Naugatuck, Prospect, and Beacon Falls, all have events planned for the weekend.

Naugatuck

Naugatuck will host its Memorial Day parade beginning at 9:15 a.m. Monday. The parade will assemble on North Main Street in Union City and continue downtown, over the Whittemore Bridge, and ending in the borough’s center.

Longtime Burgess Robert Burns, a World War II veteran, will lead the parade as grand marshal.

Burns reported for active duty with the U.S. Navy on Jan. 3, 1944 and deployed to Normandy, France in May 1944. He later served in North Africa, Italy, and aboard the USS LCI (Landing Craft Infantry #591) during the initial invasion of Southern France in August 1944.

He was awarded the American Theatre Medal, the European African Theatre ribbon, Bronze Star, Bronze Arrow Head, the Asiatic Pacific ribbon and the Victory Medal.

Burns was discharged from the Navy in January 1946 and joined the U.S. Naval Reserves. He re-enlisted for active duty during the Korean War, and served aboard the USS Seagull AMS 55 (American Mine Sweeper).

Military contingents participating in the parade include the 141st Medical Company,  325th Military Intelligence Battalion, 395th Supply and Service, 98th Second Battalion, Second Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery (Union, Civil War) and the 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment (Confederate, Civil War).

All Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans, active or discharged, are invited to march as a unit in the front rank of the parade.

A fly-over from the 103rd Wing, Connecticut Air National Guard, has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will be coordinated by Air-Ground Radio Controller and Naugatuck native, Retired Senior Master Sergeant Robert Tuckey.

The Waterbury Municipal Band will serve as the lead Duty Band. It will be joined by six other marching bands, including the Naugatuck High School marching band, the City Hill Middle School marching band, the Police Pipes and Drums of Waterbury, the Wamogo Regional High School’s marching band, and the Berkeley Knights Drill Team and Drum Corps of Waterbury.

During the ceremonies, Kaitlyn Barry will be awarded the Franklin E. Johnson Naugatuck High School ROTC Merit Award for her outstanding achievement in the school’s ROTC program.

Chair of the Naugatuck Veterans Council Stanley Borusiewicz urges veterans of all wars and members of civic and fraternal organizations in town to participate in what he said would be among the nation’s largest Memorial Day parades. He asks that all parade units carry signs or banners identifying their organizations.

Parade units will assemble at 8:45 a.m. on North Main Street in Union City.

Prospect

Prospect will host its annual Memorial Day commemoration at 1 p.m. on Monday in the center of town. A parade will leave from the Town Green, pass in front of Town Hall, down Route 69, take a left on Old Schoolhouse Road, another left onto Union City Road, and come to Prospect Cemetery, where the American Legion will lead the gathered crowd in a Memorial Day service.

After the service, the parade will return to the Green where wreaths will be placed on the Civil War monument.

Names of every veteran who passed away this year will be read aloud and a white carnation will be placed upon the wreaths.

The parade will feature the Mattatuck Drum Band, St. Peter’s Drum Corps of Torrington, the Police Pipes and Drums of Waterbury, and the Knights of Columbus carrying a 25-foot-by-30-foot flag.

Beacon Falls

Beacon Falls will host its memorial services at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Veteran’s Park.

The American Legion will lead the services. The public is invited to attend.

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