At 10 a.m., just as the Litchfield Memorial Day celebration was due to begin, a large bald eagle lazily circled over the parking lot before flying off towards the river. What could have been a better start to the celebration?
The parade was bigger and better than ever. As usual, Litchfield Police both led and brought up the rear. The Litchfield Fire Department brought all of their vehicles, including their new command post trailer. The Historical Society, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Lions Club, and various other organizations took part in the parade. The floats were filled with flowers and very beautiful. Candy was tossed to eagerly waiting children. Selectmen walked behind a large American flag.
Route 102 was dressed with row after row of small American flags gently swaying in the morning breeze.
Dr. Steven Calawa, Historical Society president, opened the program and welcomed the audience. Reverend Stephen Quinlan gave the Invocation. The Campbell High School Chorus sang America the Beautiful before the colors were presented by the Boy Scouts, who also led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone joined the chorus in singing the Star Spangled Banner.
Margaret Parent talked about Memorial Day celebrations held in Litchfield in the 1930s and 1940s. She read portions of a diary written by her relatives.
The Campbell High School Chorus, plus chorus alumni, sang Blades of Grass and Pure White Stones and Song for the Unsung Hero.
Colonel Kelly R. Fraser, U.S. Army Retired, read the poem In Flanders Field.
The Campbell High School Band played Black Granite and an Armed Forces salute. Before the salute was played, Music Director Phil Martin read the order of the songs and asked veterans to stand while the song representing their service branch was played.
Pastor Michael Small gave the benediction before Dr. Calawa announced the wreath placement. One wreath, placed by Will Jewitt and Paul Allard, was floated onto the Merrimack River in memory of those who were lost at sea; one was placed by Jack Algeo at the library for those who served in World War I and World War II; and the third was placed at the Historical Society by Leon Calawa, assisted by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
After the wreaths were laid out, there was a bicycle and doll carriage parade under the direction of Karen Hodge. Nashua Habitat sold hot dogs for those who were hungry and wanted to stay and chat with friends.
Pack 21 Cub Scouts; Joe Bergeron (Bear), Jacob Secovich (Tiger), and Alex Bergeron (Tiger) pull their Chuck Wagon with signage to join scouts.
Under bright sunshine, the Hudson community gathered at Library Park to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
This year’s event began at the Hannaford Plaza on Route 102, with the Hudson Fire Department Honor Guard leading the procession, followed by Parade Grand Marshall and ceremony speaker – the honorable Paul Moore, which included members of the American Legion Post 48 and VFW Post 5791 veterans followed. Next came Hudson Board of Selectmen. The Post 48 Legion Band entertained the parade watchers with patriotic music as they passed by. The Honor Guard from the Marine Corps Reserve Fleet led several veterans transported in armed service related vehicles.
Honorable Paul Moore, speaker and Grand Marshal
Alvirne High School was once again well represented by both the Cadets of the Air Force ROTC Program and the Bronco Marching Band. Scouts from troops of all age groups followed next; while out of step the young people all appeared excited to be involved.
New to the parade this year was a group of dog owners and their canine companions from the Hudson K-9 Training Center.
Leading a procession of antique autos was the newly refurnished Squad A fire truck and the parade ended with current apparatus for the Hudson Fire Department.
As everyone arrived at Library Park, master of Ceremonies Gene Nute, who, after greeting and introducing those in the dais took a moment to mention that it was the 42 anniversary to the day of when his brother, Leonard, was killed in Vietnam, the first Hudson soldier to die in the war. Nute has traveled from O’Fallon, IL, for every memorial Day since then and has served as the master of Ceremonies for the past 19 years.
Following the National Anthem by the Post Band, Selectman Roger Coutu addressed the assembly, followed by memorial words from guest speaker and Parade Grand Marshall, the Honorable Paul Moore, who spoke about the support that our troops need and how he and his family have worked to help via the MooreMart program.
A wreath was placed by members of the American Legion Leadership team. A 21 gun salute preceded Echo Taps, which concluded the program.
The marchers reassembled and proceeded to the American Legion Hall.
Hudson Fire Honor Guard
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