Memorial Day Services were held Wednesday and the feature program – The Memorial Day Parade – took place as residents lined the street for the celebration. A longer parade, lasting nearly an hour, took place compared to recent years.
“We had a big crowd today. More community groups than ever signed up. They wanted to march and be a part of the parade,” said Mayor Erin E. Stewart. “We had more spectators today than we had in many years. The weather played a role, but more people want to be involved in the community. It is great to see everybody out.”
The parade in New Britain is always on May 30th, the actual Memorial Day, rather than the Monday given off by the State to commemorate the holiday.
“Celebrating Memorial Day on May 30th has been a long standing tradition in New Britain,” said Matt Scoffield, parks and recreation supervisor. “Some people celebrate it on weekends, but we are happy to have it on the 30th to honor those who died and their services.”
Several people in the crowd said they come to the parade every year.
“I’ve come every year since I was a kid,” said Kelly Atwood. “The kids (Olivia and Roy) usually walk with the little league, but this year they want to watch it.”
“Every year the kids get on the float, but this year it’s different,” added Christopher Wasckiewicz. “The Little League does a tremendous job every year.”
This was the first year Krissy Patton came and she brought her two children Anija and Deandre.
“We just found out about it when I picked him up from the boys club,” said Patton. “This is our second year in New Britain. We didn’t know about it last year.”
Anija, age 5 said she was most excited to see the magic show.
Amazing Andy performed magic tricks for the children before the parade began using yo-yo’s, balloons and more in the middle of Main Street in front of the reviewing grand stand and bleachers.
New Britain High School students Robert Breau and Geovany Cirinnu sang the national anthem to open the ceremonies.
Starting off the parade was the New Britain Police Department Color Guard led by Lt. John Rodriguez.
There were five divisions featuring many local Veterans Organizations and their respective Auxiliaries; local, state, and federal elected officials, local youth organizations, the New Britain Police, Fire and EMS Departments, five school marching bands including the New Britain High School Golden Hurricanes as well as the Slade, Pulaski, HALS Academy and DiLoreto Middle School Bands, two youth and four adult Fife and Drum Corps, Valentine the clown, the Sphinx Temple Motor Patrol, Cyclists, and False Alarmers, the Connecticut Horse Council Volunteer Horse Patrol, Fagan, New Britain Little League, Jr. Canes, The Polish and Puerto Rican Societies and many other local organizations.
A mariachi band also performed for the first time.
“They did a few things at New Britain High School and wanted to be here,” added Mayor Stewart. “It’s nice to see so many first timers want to come out.”
Peter Spano was the Grand Marshall of the Parade and Joseph Roman was the honorary Grand Marshall.
The parade was from Broad Street for 1.5 miles downhill to South onto Main Street for .7 miles past the reviewing grand stand by T.D. Bank just past Central Park to the dispersing point at Franklin Square in front of the New Britain Courthouse.
Memorial Day services took place earlier in the day, and recognized and honored the men and women who served in the United States military at various war memorials and landmarks throughout the city of New Britain.
Services took place at Fairview Cemetery, General John Patterson Memorial, Spanish American War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial at Willow Brook Park, Sherrod E. Skinner Memorial, Israel Putnam Stone, World War I Monument and Louis Gentile Salute to Women Memorial, General Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko Memorials, Civil War, World War II, Korean and Vietnam Memorials, the 65th Infantry Regiment Park-The Borinqueneers (U.S. Army in WWI, WWII, and Korea), Belvidere Area World War II Memorial and Captain Brian S. Letendre U.S.M.C. Park.
Ceremonies included placing of wreaths on each Memorial along with invocations, cadences, and taps.