Westonites lined Route 57 to wave and cheer everyone from soldiers to soccer players during the town’s annual Memorial Day Parade, which was held on Monday.
“It’s my most favorite day for Weston of the year,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said. “I am so proud of the community spirit of Weston and it never shines brighter than today.”
Weinstein spoke from the Town Gazebo during a ceremony immediately following the parade.
All of Weston’s first responders, including the to the Volunteer Emergency Medical Service made a grand showing. Local fixtures like Nissan the Magic Genie to members of the also marched, rode, and cycled along the parade route. School bands played and sports teams waved and threw candy at the spectators.
“I thank the fact that our military was strong,” Weinstein said referring to the death of Osama bin Laden. “I thank our military that terrorism will never prevail here.”
The Rev. Diane Carter of delivered an invocation asking all to bless the nation’s military and their families.
The parade’s Grand Marshal Joe Spetley spoke from the gazebo. The World War Two-era veteran served with the military police in Washington, D.C. during the war. Assigned to the Pentagon, Spetley recalled helping returning troops arriving into Union Station.
“I had the opportunity to be honor guard at military funerals. It was very moving and personal to me and I feel privileged to have been there,” Spetley said.
Spetley settled move to Weston from Chicago with his wife, Dolores, and children, Barbara and Joe, in 1963.
“This Memorial Day coincides with the 150 year start of the Civil War. Connecticut can be proud of her part. It’s a comparatively small state and Connecticut citizens volunteered in large numbers. Weston had at least 76 who fought, bled, were maimed, missing or died,” Spetley said.
That resonates today as Connecticut soldiers fallen since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began. As much of the nation becomes inured to news from the front, Weston continues its strong support of troops in combat zones, Gil Sanborn, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army said.
"I want to thank Weston for its support," Sanborn said.