The Memorial Day Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. Monday, following Main Street from St. Mark’s Episocpal Church and concluding with a ceremony at Lakeview Cemetery whose guest speaker is a 1983 New Canaan High School graduate and deeply involved resident of the town who is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Boyd Harden, after earning degrees including an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, went on to serve as a U.S. Marine Corps officer, officials say.
He attended naval aviation flight school and was designated as a U.S. Marine Corps aviator in April 1992.
“He is a rotary wing and a fixed wing pilot,” according to a press release issued by the Office of the First Selectman. “Mr. Harden has multiple deployments in support of U.S. military objectives. He participated in Opreations Continue Hope and Quick Draw in Mogadishu, Somalia, where he participated as a helicopter aircraft commander. He was awarded the Air Medal as a result of his actions during those two operations. He has also participated in operations in Africa as a helicopter aircraft commander.”
Locally, Harden serves as president of the New Canaan Soccer Association, is a youth hockey coach at the New Canaan Winter Club and had served on the board of the New Canaan YMCA from 2005 to 2011.
The theme of this year’s parade, organizers say, is: “To remember with gratitude and honor the proud men and women who gave their lives while serving in the US Armed Forces to protect and preserve a life of freedom for all Americans.”
Veteran Ruth Gutt will serve as Grand Marshall for the parade, and the Rev. Peter Walsh of St. Mark’s will give the invocation and benediction at the ceremony.
All residents and especially veterans and their families are encouraged to attend an annual pancake breakfast at Harmony Lodge No. 67 at Main and Church Streets. VFW Post 653 members and their wives eat free, as will any veteran who arrives in uniform, said Andrew VanDenAmeele, past master and senior warden of the 60-member local Masonic lodge.
A New Canaan tradition since at least the 1970s, the breakfast raises money for local charities that include Getabout and Day Care Center of New Canaan, he said. The breakfast runs from 7 to 11 a.m. For non-members of the lodge, it costs $3 for children 12-and-under and $7 for all others.
“We are carrying on the tradition of doing this and it’s specifically on Memorial Day that we do this to provide some nourishment for the older vets that are marching in the parade, because Memorial Day tends to be a hot day,” VanDemAmeele said.
The forecast as of Sunday afternoon called for some clouds and 80 degrees on Memorial Day in New Canaan. In the event of heavy rain, a cancellation notice will be circulated and in place of the parade a Memorial Ceremony would take place in Morrill Hall at St. Mark’s Church on Oenoke Ridge with limited seating.
Here is the Parade Line of March:
1. Grand Marshal
3. NCTV 79
5. Veteran Trailer
6. Town Band
7. Town Officials
8. Police Department
9. US Naval Sea Cadets Corps
10. Exchange Club
11. Exchange Club Band
12. Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
13. Girl Scouts & Brownies
14. Knights of Columbus
15. Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts
16. New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps
17. Mount Kisco Scottish Bagpipers
18. Fire Department
19. Vista Fire Department
20. CERT – Community Emergency Response Team
21. New Canaan Historical Society
22. New Canaan Mounted Troop
23. Strays and Others
24. New Canaan Youth Cheerleading
25. New Canaan High School Band
26. New Canaan Baseball & Softball
27. Y Guides & Princesses
28. Staying Put in New Canaan
29. GetAbout Van