Darien prepares for Memorial Day Parade
DARIEN — Rain or shine, the Memorial Day parade next Monday will go on.
“The parade takes place rain or shine,” Karen Polett, secretary of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, said. “This is because the veterans didn’t stop fighting in the rain -- we don’t stop honoring them (in the rain) either. This is a commemoration of all their lives and what they meant.”
Polett and her husband David, chairman of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, are part of the town body in charge of organizing the Memorial Day Parade. Polett has lived in the town since 1976 and has been an active member of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission since 1992.
Starting in January, the ten member commission begins to suggest the names of candidates for the speaker and Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade.
The Grand Marshal of the 2018 parade will be Darien resident Robert S. Mitchell. He’s a World War II veteran, serving as an officer on the USS YMS-349 in the Atlantic and the USS YMS-117 in the Pacific.
For his service, Mitchell was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, the American Theater Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal.
Additionally, Patricia Davis Parry was selected as the Memorial Day Speaker by the commission. Parry’s son, Navy SEAL Chief Brian Robert Bill was killed in action Aug. 6, 2011 when the helicopter he was riding was shot down.
Parry is the first Gold Star Mother, someone who has lost a son or daughter in service of the Armed Forces, to speak at the town’s Memorial Day Parade according to Polett.
A Stamford native, Parry is a member of the Veterans Park Partnership, Inc. and LZ (Landing Zone) for Vets. Along with her husband, Parry fundraises for a scholarship in her son’s honor at Trinity Catholic High School and Norwich University.
According to instructions sent by the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, marchers are recommended to be in their assigned positions by 9:30 a.m. at the Goodwives Shopping Center on 25 Old Kings Highway North.
The parade route goes from the Goodwives Shopping Center to Brookside Road to Post Road, approximately 1.25 miles.
The Memorial Day Speaker last year, Phil Kraft, said that the event is a way for the town to remember its veterans.
“It’s about tradition and I was honored to (be the Memorial Day Speaker) last year,” Kraft said.