After years on hiatus, Memorial Day parade to return to East Hartford

·3 min read

Dec. 2—EAST HARTFORD — The town will hold a Memorial Day parade on May 30 for the first time in five years.

Mayor Mike Walsh said it's an important event to veterans and other residents and he is excited to bring it back.

"This is to honor not only the fallen soldiers and those who serve in the military today, but it's to honor the community," Walsh said.

PARADE

WHEN: May 30, 2022.

Volunteer: To help, sponsor, or participate in the parade, contact Connor Martin, assistant to the mayor, at cmartin@easthartfordct.gov or 860-291-7203, or Chairman of the Veterans Commission John Cook at john.cook@quotewright.com or 860-212-9966.

Walsh said the principal planning efforts will be done by the Veterans Commission, which formed a Memorial Day Parade Committee for the event.

Veterans Commission Chairman John Cook said the absence of a parade on Memorial Day has left a "hole in the fabric" of the community.

"As long as I can remember, and I've been born and raised in East Hartford, the Memorial Day parade has always been a part of East Hartford," Cook said, adding that Memorial Day is also deeply important to veterans and their families.

"It is the one day where we really memorialize the sacrifices of those men and women who served our country, at our request, and never came back," Cook said.

The Memorial Day Parade Committee's first meeting was Tuesday night, and the major topic of discussion was the parade route. Early plans for the parade look to have it end at the Fallen Star Monument at Goodwin University.

"Looking at it, and contemplating what it stands for, it's hard to walk away without being moved by it," Cook said of the monument on the college campus.

Cook said that while the planning efforts have had "a little bit of a late start," the community of veterans in town is happy to have the parade back, and organizers will do their best.

"Whatever we're able to do is gonna be the best effort that we have," Cook said.

Walsh said Connor Martin and Rosamond White in the mayor's office will assist in the planning efforts, but the Veterans Commission will make all the decisions.

"Between the two of them, they will provide the administrative support that the Veterans Commission needs to make this a reality," Walsh said.

Martin said the mayor's office will help coordinate town services and acquire any required permits, as well as overseeing communication with participants and media.

Martin said the parade may be small because of the lack of time and only five months for planning, but people are excited to bring it back.

"It won't be a very big parade ... but it's gonna be a great parade," Martin said.

Walsh said two veterans in town, James Shelmerdine, U.S. Army, and Paul Barry, U.S. Marine Corps, will be honored Friday night at the Connecticut Veteran Affairs Commission Veterans Hall of Fame ceremony.

"You absolutely have to honor and respect their service to the nation, and both serve as an example to the community of what it means to give back," Walsh said.

Joseph covers East Hartford and South Windsor. He joined the JI in July 2021. Joseph graduated from the University of Connecticut and he is an avid guitarist and coffee enthusiast.

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