Organizers of the annual Connecticut Veterans Parade are sending out a statewide call for U.S. veterans, businesses, organizations and individuals to participate in one of the nation’s largest parades honoring veterans.
The 12th annual Connecticut Veterans Parade will step off on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 12:30 p.m., near the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford and will proceed through the Downtown area.
Last year, nearly 4,000 people marched or rode in the parade, making it the largest veterans’ parade in New England and one of the biggest in the entire nation. The colorful parade honors the dedication and sacrifices of servicemen and women from all U.S. conflicts, and offers the state’s residents the opportunity to express their thanks. Special features will include a tolling of church bells and Moment of Silence when the parade pauses in observance of veterans who died while serving their country.
U.S. veterans are encouraged to register now to march or ride in the 2011 event. Any Connecticut resident who is an active, retired or honorably discharged member of the U.S. Armed Forces, including commissioned officers, warrant officers and enlisted personnel of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves is welcome to participate. Parade organizers also seek veterans groups, patriotic commissions, local municipalities, and marching bands and drill teams from colleges, high schools and middle schools, as well as pipe & drum and fife & drum corps from all over the state.
The 2011 Parade Grand Marshal is U.S. Army Corporal Americo “Rico” Pace of West Hartford, a World War II veteran and member of the U.S. Army’s 197th AAA (AW) Battalion. Drafted in 1942 and trained in amphibious, anti-aircraft and anti-tank warfare, Pace was part of the first wave of soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944, just hours in advance of the D-Day invasion of 160,000 Allied troops. An active retiree and volunteer at age 89, Pace now balances two part-time volunteer jobs: he is a greeter at Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center’s visitors desk and spends several days a week at the Connecticut State Capitol Building and the Legislative Office Building, where he provides informative tours to tourists, school groups, and other visitors.
You can read an extensive profile of Pace and his service in WWII here. The parade’s Honorary Grand Marshals will be named by the Connecticut Veterans Parade committee in the coming weeks.
Sponsorship dollars are needed to help to pay for the operations of the parade, which is organized by a nonprofit collaboration of veterans’ groups, corporations, local municipalities, businesses and civic organizations. The Connecticut National Guard assists with the management of parade logistics, and the city of Hartford hosts the event. Many of the members of the Parade Planning Committee have been involved since its inception more than a decade ago. Sponsors can include corporations, organizations, and individual residents who wish to make a contribution to the effort.
Parade organizers are seeking scores of volunteers to help with a variety of hands-on responsibilities, before and during the parade.
In addition, for the second consecutive year, the Veterans Day National Committee in Washington, D.C. has announced that the parade is recognized as one of the nation’s official “Veterans Day Regional Sites.” The parade is one of only 57 entities in the U.S. and the only Connecticut to receive the prestigious designation.
To make a financial contribution to help support the parade, checks should be written to
“Connecticut Veterans Fund” and mailed to:
Connecticut Veterans Fund
1245 Farmington Avenue #338
West Hartford, CT 06107