For the second year in a row, most of the region’s Memorial Day tributes were considerably smaller than in previous years. But for those who gathered, their purpose was not lost.
In Meriden, members of the American Legion Post 45, joined by elected officials and others, paid tribute on Monday to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, by laying a wreath against the flagpole in front of the legion.
The event included brief remarks, as well as a presentation of the flag, a rifle salute and beating, performed by the honor guard of the ancient Meriden veterans.
Morgan E. Morenz, a resident of the city, said each of the participants can be heroes in their own way.
“Although we are all different, we have something it takes to help our beloved country. Let’s all give it a try because I think that’s what those fallen soldiers would have wanted, ”Morenz said.
Tom Skibicki noted that their purpose in the rally was to remember those who died serving their country, he quoted the phrase, “All gave a little and some gave their all. This, he said, “is the reason we come.”
But not all gatherings were small, nor were they necessarily moderate. In fact, later that afternoon, the Meriden Green hosted the US Coast Guard Band for their very first performance at the Green Amphitheater. After what had been a rainy and cool morning, the weather seemed to warm up and the clouds above our heads parted in time for the show.
A crowd of at least 200 people of all ages had gathered, sitting in the grass near the bandstand, on blankets and in folding chairs. The ensemble played interpretations of familiar songs that ranged from patriotic tunes, such as “America, The Beautiful” to the anthem “Amazing Grace,” before closing their performance with a finale that included a mix of marches representing all branches. military. The concert ended with a flight of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa.
For Coast Guard Commander Adam Williamson, the group’s director, just performing in front of a live audience was “exhilarating,” he said.
“It’s so nice to be back,” said Williamson, noting that the musicians in the collective, like many others, “have been living mostly in the virtual world” for the past 14 months.
Of course, there has been some interaction through digital platforms. But it’s not the same as performing in person, Williamson said.
“To be able to see the people you are talking to, the shared atmosphere, there is just no replacement for that,” he said.
The performance kicks off what should be a busy summer for the group. Williamson was impressed with the acoustics of the Green.
“It’s really as good as it gets. It’s a nice platform and the way it’s structured, it’s almost like it’s been built for us… that sounded good, ”said Williamson.
The Meriden Lions Club was instrumental in bringing the Coast Guard Band to Silver City.
Lions club president Mark Appellof said he was “delighted with the turnout”.
The performance itself was “exceptional,” said Appellof.
“The precision shown by the musicians was exceptional. It was all very, very edifying, ”he said.
Meriden resident Sue Burchsted agreed. She enjoyed hearing refreshing and complex arrangements of familiar songs.
“They are top notch musicians,” said Burchsted.
In Wallingford, the Wallingford Veterans Memorial Committee closed its weekend of events with a ceremony outside Town Hall.
The guest speaker for the ceremony was Dennis Mannion, a naval sergeant who served in the Vietnam War and was awarded two Purple Hearts. Mannion paid tribute to a college friend who died in action during the war.
“He did an amazing job,” said Dave Gessert, member of the Veterans Memorial Committee.
Gessert noted that for the first time, a Gold Star banner, honoring families who lost loved ones in battle, was displayed in front of City Hall.