NEW 2016 PARADE ROUTE FOR SUNDAY, NOV. 6
HARTFORD, CONN., October 25, 2016 – Close to 3,000 participants in the Sunday, November 6, 2016 Connecticut Veterans Parade will march a new parade route this year. New England’s largest veterans parade will start and finish in the same location as in the past, but the new shorter route will focus on the area around Downtown Hartford’s historic Bushnell Park. The marchers’ assembly area remains the same location as in past years.
“We have worked with our planning committee of veterans and other veterans groups to make the parade even more enjoyable for both the marchers and the thousands of people of all ages who will come to cheer them on and say, ‘thank you,’” explains Kristin Beth Ferris, the parade’s coordinator. “The 17th annual Connecticut Veterans Parade will begin at the intersection of Buckingham and Washington Streets near the State Capitol Building, and march North up Trinity Street as in past years, but now will turn right onto Jewell Street, then right onto Wells Street, passing through Pulaski Circle and past Elm Street, then finally turning right onto Hudson Street where it will end at Capital Avenue. The Reviewing Stand will be located at the intersection of Elm Street and Pulaski Circle, near the Pump House Gallery in the park’s Southeast corner.” U.S. Marine Corps veteran and meteorologist Gil Simmons will be the Reviewing Stand Announcer.
“Many of the parade’s longtime participants – including those who fought in World War II and the Korean War – told us that the route was becoming a little too lengthy for walking on a cold Fall day,” says Ferris. “In addition, there were stretches of that former route – particularly on windy Pearl Street – where there were few spectators. This scenic new route is approximately one-half mile shorter than years past and offers the opportunity for marchers to walk a short block to back to Bushnell Park and enjoy the rest of the parade.”
Spectators also will have a better viewing experience this year. People will be able to move around Bushnell Park during the parade and watch the procession from many different angles, or bring a lawn chair and simply sit and cheer in one place.
As in past years, one hour before the parade begins, an 11:30 a.m. Wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park to remember all veterans. The ceremony will feature a color guard, music, and a bugler from the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard. And, the Bushnell Park Carousel will be open all day for just $1 a ride.
A poignant Moment of Silence will begin at 1:30 p.m. when parade marchers will stop in place in memory of service members who died while serving their country. At the end of that minute of remembrance, a C-130H personnel and cargo transport aircraft from the Connecticut Air National Guard’s 103rd Airlift Wing will soar over the procession, in concert with the singing of the National Anthem by Bloomfield resident Anthony Harrington, and the tolling of Downtown Hartford church bells.
The Connecticut Veterans Parade honors the dedication and sacrifice of servicemen and women from all U.S. conflicts, and offers the public the opportunity to express their thanks in a meaningful way. Nearly 3,000 active, retired or honorably discharged members of the U.S. Armed Forces are expected to march, as are veterans groups, patriotic commissions and local municipalities. Musical units, including the Central Connecticut State University Marching Band and high school, middle school, fife & drum and pipe & drum bands, will be featured. For the seventh consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Day Committee has recognized the Connecticut Veterans Parade as one of the nation’s official “Veterans Day Regional Sites.” One of just U.S. 47 sites recognized in 2016, the Parade is the only Connecticut entity to be honored.
Three Connecticut veterans will be honored as the 2016 Parade Marshals:
· Former Disbursing Clerk Third Class John (Jack) G. Casey Jr. of Groton, a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran who has dedicated his life to honoring veterans. He is an Assistant State Captain and current Board member of the CT Patriot Guard Riders, and his current mission is to collect photos of every Connecticut resident who died in the Vietnam War, giving a face to their courage and ultimate sacrifice.
· Lt. Col. (Ret.) Walter J. Hushak of Southington, a veteran of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Reserve. At 93, he proudly marches in uniform at every CT Veterans Parade. The World War II Army Captain was a pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber in the Pacific from 1944 to 1946; including battles at Iwo Jima, Pagan and Marcus Island. He then served in the Air Force Reserve for 27 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He preserves the history of WWII by speaking with school students of all ages.
· Chief Warrant Officer Five Mark S. Marini, Sr. of Suffield, who has 41 years of military service with the Connecticut Army National Guard, the past 17 of those as the Command Chief Warrant Officer of the CTNG’s Joint Force Headquarters. He is responsible for the formulation, development and implementation of all programs and policies affecting the Connecticut Army National Guard Warrant Officer Corps.
Free “Thank You, Veterans” material that spectators can hold high will be available at the Parade Information booth near the Pump House Gallery. Official 2016 collectible Veterans Parade lapel pins cost $4 and can be purchased at that Information booth or in advance at www.CTVeteransParade.org/about/pins/. Proceeds from sales help to pay for parade operations.
The winner of the parade’s annual Middle School Student Essay Contest, Rachel Coppinger of West Simsbury, an 8th grader at Henry James Memorial School in Simsbury, will ride in a vehicle in the procession. She and the contest’s two runners-up, Mehr Chhatre of Hamden, a 7th grader at Hamden Middle School, and Stephanie Hernandez Rodriguez of Manchester, an 8th grader at Illing Middle School in Manchester, will read their winning essays at a public, free ceremony in the Connecticut State Capitol’s Hall of Flags on Thursday, October 27 at 4 p.m. The competition is sponsored by the Navy League of the United States – Hartford Council and the State of Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs.
There is no cost on Sundays to park at Downtown Hartford street meters, except in restricted areas. Several parking lots and garages may offer discounted parking.
The parade is organized by a nonprofit collaboration of veterans’ groups, corporations, local municipalities, businesses and civic organizations. Many of the members of the Parade Planning Committee have been involved in the parade since its inception in the year 2000. The Connecticut National Guard assists with the management of parade logistics, and the City of Hartford hosts the event.
Sponsorship dollars and donations from individuals are essential to help pay for the operations of the parade. They include corporations, organizations, and grass roots collection efforts. This year, in an effort to enable individuals to support the parade in an affordable way, organizers are hosting a new 17forVETS contributions campaign, inviting the public to donate $17 in honor of the parade’s 17th anniversary. Facebook and Twitter social media, using (hashtag) #17forVETS, is helping to spread the word.
Financial contributions of $17 or any amount to support the parade can be made on-line at www.CTVeteransParade.org. Checks may be written to “Connecticut Veterans Fund” and mailed to:
1245 Farmington Avenue #338
West Hartford, CT 06107
following are the parade sponsors, as of October 24, 2016: The Founding Sponsor is
Aetna. The Presenting Sponsor is Eversource. Contributing Sponsors
are: the Connecticut National Guard; The Hartford Courant; United
Technologies; and Whelen Engineering Inc. Associate Sponsors are: Bank
of America; Bob’s Discount Furniture; KAMAN; Mohegan Sun; and
Travelers. Cooperating Sponsors are: Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection
& Insurance Company; Insurity Inc.;
Prudential Retirement; and Webster Bank. The parade is produced in cooperation with: City
of Hartford; Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs; and Brad Davis. In
Kind Sponsors are: American Medical Response; The Hartford News; Independent
Outdoor Network; Invisible Gold Web Designs; Lamar Outdoor Advertising
Hartford/Springfield; R2 Graphics; TagTeam Business Partners, LLC; and The
Salvation Army. Other Donors include: Crowe Horwath LLP; Marilda
Gandara; and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Joseph Glasser.
For full information about the Sunday, November 6 Connecticut Veterans Parade, visit www.CTVeteransParade.org or call 860-986-7254. Facebook: Connecticut Veterans Parade, and Twitter: @CTVetsParade