Westport pays Memorial Day tribute to the fallen's sacrifices
Updated 2:28 pm, Sunday, May 24, 2015
On Monday, the town's annual Memorial Day salute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation will include the traditional downtown parade and ceremony on Veterans Green.
The Rev. Jeffrey Rider, of Greens Farms Congregational Church, will deliver the invocation, the Westport Girl Scouts will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Bailey Claffey, a soloist from Staples High School,
will sing the national anthem.
First Selectman Jim Marpe will give the welcoming address, followed by Jack Baylis, soloist from Staples High School, singing "America The Beautiful."
Vornkahl will introduce Bruce M. Allen, the parade's grand marshal.
Allen, a World War II Army veteran wounded in action, served as a Browning Automatic Rifle gunner with the 78th Division Combat Infantry in Europe. He was wounded in the battle of the Remagen Bridge over the Rhine River in 1945 and was presented with a Purple Heart. He also received the Bronze Star and the Croix de Guerre medal from France.
Allen, now 89, has been on the board of directors of the Y's Men for many years. He was Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 39 for seven years and, during that time, 13 troop members achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Allen, a Westport resident since 1957, retired from a career in television production as a staff member for both NBC and ABC in New York City. He was also a Westport special police officer for 46 years.
A memorial wreath will be presented during the program by the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399, the president of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 399 and the commander of American Legion Post 63.
There will be a volley detail from the Police Department.
Rider will also give the benediction followed by a musical selection -- an Armed Forces salute -- by the Staples High School Band, led by Nicholas Mariconda, director.
In case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled and services will take place in Town Hall starting at 10 a.m., organizers said.
Vornkahl also said the parade with the theme of "Thank You, Veterans," will start promptly at 9 a.m. at Saugatuck Elementary School, proceed up Riverside Avenue through downtown and end in Parker-Harding Plaza.
The parade will include floats decorated with that theme in mind, he said.
Parade organizers are also looking for World War II veterans interested in riding or walking in the parade. They should call Ted Diamond at 203-227-7680 if they would like to participate.