Towns plan Memorial Day commemorations

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The Police Pipes and Drums Corps of Waterbury march on Maple Street during Naugatuck’s 2012 Memorial Day parade. –FILE PHOTO
The Police Pipes and Drums Corps of Waterbury march on Maple Street during Naugatuck’s 2012 Memorial Day parade. –FILE PHOTO

Naugatuck, Prospect, and Beacon Falls will honor Memorial Day this weekend.

Naugatuck will hold its annual Memorial Day parade on Monday.

“There are numerous reasons why someone should come and attend the Naugatuck parade, mainly to show their support of the sacrifices made by the men and women of Naugatuck and in fact throughout the world, for democracy and the rights for freedom for all,” said John DeBisschop, chairman of the Veterans Council, in a statement.

The parade, which begins at 9:15 p.m., will start on North Main Street near the intersection of Union Street. From there the parade route will be Calvin Street to High Street to Oak Street to Maple Street to Old Firehouse Road to Rubber Avenue to Church Street and end on Division Street.

World War II Air Force veteran Warrant Officer Ernest Stewart will serve as the parade’s grand marshal.

Stewart served as a nose-gunner on a B-24 heavy bomber during the Pacific campaign while assigned to the 408 Bomb Squadron of the 22nd Bomb Group.

According to a press release, during one mission while battling a swarm of attacking Japanese fighter planes over the enemy-held island of Formosa his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Two engines were badly damaged and the bomber couldn’t make it back to base, so it was ditched in the Pacific Ocean. Stewart, along with the crew, was rescued by a U.S. Navy boat.

Stewart was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and holds four Air Medals, the press release said.

According to the press release, Marquis Bernard-Alexis de Menars from Paris, France will represent the French Government during a ceremony in front of Town Hall. The Canadian Armed Forces will again be represented by Retired Canadian Army Major Robert Burns.
The 142 Medical Company, Connecticut National Guard, will lead the parade’s military contingents. Joining them will be The Second Company, Governor’s Foot Guard as well as elements of the 98th Second Battalion and the 325th Military Intelligence Battalion, and elements of two re-enactment groups — The 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment (Union) and The First Maryland Infantry Regiment (Confederate), the press release said.

The parade will also feature an M-551 Sheridan tank that saw extensive combat action during the Vietnam War.

Marching units in divisions 1 through 4 will assemble at 8:45 a.m. on North Main Street in the vicinity of Union and Woodbine streets. Division 5, (the middle-school age athletic groups) and division 6 (elementary-school-age athletic groups) will assemble at 8:45 a.m. in the parking area behind St. Mary’s Church on North Main Street. Also assembling in the St. Mary’s Church parking lot will be all karate and dance groups. Divisions 5 and 6 will join the parade as it passes the parking area.

Prospect will also hold its parade Monday, beginning at 1 p.m.

The parade will start at the Town Green, travel down in front of Town Hall, turn left onto School House Road, turn left onto Union City Road, go into the Prospect Cemetery for a brief ceremony, and then back to the Town Green where it will end in front of the Civil War monument.

Once the parade reaches the monument a ceremony will take place to honor the veterans and wreaths will be placed at the foot of the monument.

A wreath will be placed by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8075 and a wreath will be placed by the American Legion Post 174.
This year a third wreath will also be placed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and to honor the five Prospect soldiers who lost their lives during that battle.

In addition to the wreaths, a carnation will be laid at the statue for every veteran living in Prospect who passed away since last Memorial Day, Mayor Robert Chatfield said.

Girls Scouts from Prospect Troop 54639 show off their patriotism during Prospect’s 2012 Memorial Day parade. –FILE PHOTO
Girls Scouts from Prospect Troop 54639 show off their patriotism during Prospect’s 2012 Memorial Day parade. –FILE PHOTO

Chatfield said to show respect there will also be bleachers set out in front of Town Hall for veterans and active military personnel and their families to sit and watch the parade.

Chatfield said Memorial Day is a day of remembrance.

“We stop to remember the thousand of men and women resting around the world under white crosses and stars of David so that we can live our lives freely,” Chatfield said. “They gave their lives to keep our flag flying high and proud as it does.”

Beacon Falls will mark Memorial Day through church services and a ceremony for veterans.

On Sunday the American Legion Schaeffer-Fischer Post 25 will attend the Beacon Falls Congregational Church mass at 10 a.m., American Legion adjunct Rich Minnick said.

The American Legion will also attend Mass at St. Michael’s Church in Beacon Falls at 11 a.m.

From there the American Legion will assemble at Veterans Park at 12:30 p.m. along local and state dignitaries for a ceremony commemorating Memorial Day.

Minnick said families of local veterans who have passed away since last Memorial Day will attend the ceremony to be recognized.