West Hartford will observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 30, with a parade followed by a Memorial Service, and residents should note that trash and recycling pickup will be delayed by one day all week.
By Ronni Newton
The Town of West Hartford’s traditional Memorial Day parade will return for 2022, with U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Edward D. Banta chosen to lead the parade as grand marshal, and honorary assistant marshals include state Reps. Tammy Exum, Kate Farrar, and Jillian Gilchrest, as well as members of the West Hartford Town Council and Board of Education.
Banta, who grew up in both California and West Hartford, and gradated from Conard High School in 1982, was promoted to his current rank on July 9, 2021, and serves as deputy commandant for Installations and Logistics. He has also been chosen as the keynote speaker for a brief service that will immediately follow the parade, and will speak at a ceremony for military inductees hosted by American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 and West Hartford Public Schools on May 31.
The hour-long parade – a tradition which began in West Hartford in the 1920s to welcome returning World War I veterans – will kick off at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade was canceled in both 2020 and 2021, although there were some in-person commemorations held along with virtual programming.
Parade units will assemble at 9:30 a.m. in their designated areas west of Woodrow Street, and the parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Woodrow and Farmington Avenue, turn down South Main Street, and end at Town Hall.
The parade is expected to last 45 to 60 minutes, and will include the marching bands from all five public secondary schools, as well as veterans groups, community organizations, the town’s police and fire departments, scouts, and sports teams. Each group marching in the parade will honor at least one veteran, and those names will be announced at the reviewing stand on South Main Street opposite the library.
All veterans are welcome to march in the parade, and vehicles will be available to transport any veteran who is unable to stand for long periods or walk the length of the parade. Anyone who needs assistance should contact Moe Fradette at [email protected].
An exciting moment is expected to occur mid-way during the parade – when the unmistakable roar of a C-130 military jet will be heard as Connecticut native and third-generation Connecticut Air National Guard 1st Lt. Alexandra Pagoni performs a flyover above the parade route.
This special coordinated flyover is being provided by the Connecticut Air National Guard 103rd AW Unit from Bradley International Airport.
In case of rain, the parade will not take place Monday and will not be rescheduled. Notice will be posted on the town’s website.
American Legion Post 96 centennial
“This Memorial Day is extra special for us as we celebrate our centennial milestone,” said Post Commander Heidi-Anne Mooney.
American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 was established in 1922, just three years after the American Legion – the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization – was chartered and incorporated by Congress with the mission of “mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.”
Membership in Post 96 is open to all military veterans who have served honorably as well as military personnel currently on active duty.
“Joining us in the parade will be the American Legion Auxiliary, American Legion baseball teams, past and present, past post commanders and any veteran who would like to march,” Past Post Commander Patrick Harrell said.
“Immediately following the parade each year, a brief Memorial Day ceremony is held at the Veterans Memorial to bring special meaning to the holiday,” Renée McCue, parade coordinator and public relations specialist for the Town of West Hartford said in a news release.
Mooney will lead the ceremony at the Veterans Memorial, located at the corner of North Main Street and Farmington Avenue,.
Rev. Msgr. James F. Kinnane, COL USA (Ret.) will give the invocation and other participants include Mayor Shari Cantor, who will give a welcome, the singing of the National Anthem by Conard graduate Stephanie Reuning-Scherer, and the sounding of Taps will by Ethan Striff-Cave of Hall High School.
Color guards from the West Hartford Police Department, West Hartford Fire Department, and American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96, led by Lt. Matthew Lariviere, Lt. Ryan Shea, and Michael DeLuca respectively, will also participate in the Memorial Day service.
Rolf Knoll and Moe Fradette of the American Legion Post 96 will present the memorial wreath at the ceremony.
The service will be held rain or shine, but in the event of rain will be held beginning at 11 a.m. in the Town Hall Auditorium.
Parking and traffic flow
Parking is free all day on Monday, May 30 at all municipal parking sites other than garages where fees will apply.
On-street parking, however, is prohibited beginning at 12:01 a.m. on May 30 until the parade is completed on the following parade route streets:
- Pleasant Street, west side, from Whitman Avenue to Farmington Avenue
- Farmington Avenue, both sides, from Walden Street to Raymond Road
- South Main Street, both sides, from Brace Road to Burr Street
Several of the streets surrounding the parade route that provide access to South Main Street and Farmington Avenue will also be closed beginning at 9 a.m. Through traffic is advised to seek alternate routes.
The parking ban is expected to be lifted by 11 a.m., and roads are expected to clear by 1 p.m.
Municipal parking will resume normal operation on Tuesday, May 31 at 6 a.m.
Trash, recycling, and bulky collections during the week of May 30 through June 3 will be one day late following Monday’s Memorial Day holiday. According to Paine’s, Monday’s collection will be done on Tuesday and all other collections will also be moved ahead one day.
For more information visit www.painesinc.com or call Paine’s, Inc. 860-844-3000 with any questions.
Coverage of the parade and ceremony will also be available for viewing by West Hartford Community Interactive via Comcast channel 5, Frontier channel 6098 and on the WHCi YouTube channel.
In recognition of the Memorial Day holiday, West Hartford Town Hall will be closed all day. The Yard Waste and Recycling Center, Elmwood Community Center, both senior centers, and schools will closed on Monday, May 30, 2022. The libraries will be closed on Sunday, May 29 as well as Monday, May 30, 2022.
Additional information about West Hartford’s Memorial Day Parade can be found online at www.WestHartfordCT.gov/MemorialDayParade. Questions about the parade may also be directed to Renée McCue at 860-561-7521, [email protected].
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