WWII vet named Memorial Day parade marshal; others asked to join march
Calling all World War II veterans. Plans are being finalized for the town's annual Memorial Day parade and organizers are looking for veterans of the war -- which ended 70 years ago this year -- to join the line of march.
"Right now we have 15" WWII veterans, said Ted Diamond, an organizer of Memorial Day observances. He said 20 WWII veterans took part in the local parade last year.
Allen 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.
The theme of this year's Memorial Day parade is "Thank You, Veterans," said Bill Vornkahl, president of the Westport Veterans Council and parade chairman. He said the parade will include floats decorated with that theme in mind.
He said the floats will be judged for best overall design, best development of the theme, best youth organization float, best community organization float and the most colorful.
The line-up of marching bands has also been set, he said. Participants will include the Staples High School and Bedford and Coleytown middle school bands, the Westport Community Band, the Junior Colonial Pipe and Drum Corps from Westbrook, the Colonel Chester Pipe and Drum Corps from Wethersfield and the Park City Drum and Bugle Corps from Bridgeport.
Vornkahl said that besides the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, it is also the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, of which he is a veteran.
The parade will kick off from Riverside Avenue at 9 a.m. and end at the Parker Harding Plaza. There will be a reviewing stand in front of Town Hall.
A memorial service will take place immediately following the parade on the Veterans Green, across from Town Hall, Vornkahl said.
World War II veterans interested in riding or walking in the parade should call Diamond at 203-227-7680 or email him at email@example.com.