By Elio Gugliotti and Andreas Yilma, Citizen’s News
Naugatuck and Prospect will again observe Memorial Day with parades, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional commemorations.
The return of the parades comes after the state last week lifted most of the remaining coronavirus-restrictions.
In Naugatuck, the parade will be shorter than residents are used to seeing. Rather than starting in the Union City section of the borough, the parade will step off at 11:30 a.m. May 31 downtown at the intersection of Maple and Water streets. The parade route will head down Maple Street, Old Firehouse Road, Rubber Avenue and Church Street to the Naugatuck Green for a ceremony at 12 p.m.
Naugatuck Veterans Council Chairman John DeBisschop said Maj. Douglas Holland, a Naugatuck native and member of the Connecticut Army National Guard, is the grand marshal for the parade. Holland, who serves with the 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group based in Groton, is also the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
All borough civic, veteran, fraternal and youth organizations are invited to participate in the parade, DeBisschop said. He said it will be a Naugatuck-centered parade with very few organizations from the surrounding area participating this year.
Groups participating in the parade are asked to assemble at 11 a.m. at the Naugatuck Event Center, 6 Rubber Ave.
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said the town’s annual parade will go on as usual, though it may be “a little wider” because he plans to ask participants to space out a bit.
The parade steps off at 1 p.m. from Center Street. The parade route heads past Prospect Town Hall on Route 69, turns onto Old Schoolhouse Road then onto Route 68. The parade then goes into Prospect Cemetery for a ceremony. Following the ceremony in the cemetery, another ceremony will be held on the Prospect Green.
Chatfield said a flyover by a C-130 transport plane is planned for 1 p.m. The parade will also feature the St. Peter’s Drum Corps, the Police Pipes and Drums of Waterbury and the Mattatuck Drum Band.
Town civic and youth groups have been invited to participate in the parade, he said. Those who want to march are asked to meet on the Green by 12:30 p.m.
American Legion Post 25 in Beacon Falls will host a Memorial Day ceremony May 30 at 12:30 p.m. at Veteran’s Park on North Main Street.
The ceremony will include speakers and a wreath laying.
Post 25 will also observe Memorial Day with activities leading up to the ceremony. Members will hand out poppies at services at St. Michael Church and Beacon Falls Congregational Church on May 29 and May 30.
Post 25 will hold a breakfast with first responders at Beacon Hose Co. No. 1, 35 North Main St., at 8:30 a.m. on May 30. A memorial service for first responders who have died is planned for 10 a.m. at the firehouse.