VERGENNES-Addison County veterans families and friends will be observing Memorial Day with five parades, of varying size, this year-Vergennes,Middlebury, Bristol, Orwell and Hancock.
In nearby Rutland County, Brandon will also host its annual parade. However, the Vergennes parade is the state's largest and most attended. The Vergennes Memorial Day Observance is planned for Monday. May 30.
According to Vergennes American Legion member John Mitchell, "the City of Vergennes and the parade sponsor, Vergennes American Legion Post 14, can't guarantee sun, but we can promise to deliver another classic Memorial Day parade."
This year's Vergennes parade theme is Forget-Me-Not and will include the annual flyover by F-16 fighter jets from the Vermont Air National Guard. As has been the case for half a century, Legionnaire Henry Broughton will chair the parade committee and coordinate the activities of the many floats and activities.
The parade begins at 11 a.m. at Vergennes Union High School. Ten marching bands, color guards, veterans' groups, scouts, fire trucks, antique cars, and other participants will gather at VUHS before the parade starts.
This year's parade marshall is Richard Poquette, a Vergennes resident and World War II U.S. Navy combat veteran.
The two-mile-long parade follow a route along Monkton Road to the downtown area. The parade will turn onto Main Street as it heads to Vergennes City Hall.
At Vergennes City Park, visitors can gather a special reviewing stand. Local resident Ann Sullivan will announce and identify the groups and individuals in convertibles.
This year's guest speakers is Capt. James McNulla, USN (Ret.), a Vergennes native. McNulla is U.S. Naval Academy graduate and 27-year active duty veteran. He will be joined by Unit 14 Legion Auxiliary President Pam Norton. Norton is a Department of Vermont Auxiliary vice president and president-elect.
The parade's Poppy Girls are Kaylee Colby and Maisa Allen and 2011 Green Mountain Girls' State President Hannah Degraff.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin will also attend.
Immediately following the conclusion of the parade, American Legion Commander Roger Norton will take the podium as master of ceremonies on the bandstand in the Park.
The Vergennes Union High School band will play the National Anthem prior to an invocation by Rev. Yvon Royer, pastor of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church.
Vergennes Mayor Michael Daniels will deliver greetings from the host City and recognize local dignitaries and office holders.
Two retired Navy vets, Petty Officer First Class Spencer Norton and Chief Petty Officer William Larrabee, will lay a wreath at the monument to Commodore Thomas McDonough, a hero of the Battle of Plattsburg on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. VUHS students then take over as Megan Stearns recites "In Flanders Field" and Trevor Patterson, the Gettysburg Address. Both are sophomores. The VUHS Band will perform "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
The Vergennes Legion's JohnMitchell, a retired Navy captain, will introduce Capt. McNulla; the captain will deliver the Memorial Day address.
Following his address, a unit of the Vermont National Guard will conduct a 21-gun salute in honor of those who gave their lives during our nation's wars and conflicts. Buglers Melvin and Aaron Hawley will sound taps.
The ceremonies will conclude with benediction offered by Rev. Stephan Payne, pastor of the Addison Community Baptist Church and the playing of "America the Beautiful" by the VUHS Band.
Following the parade, the public is invited to the 47th annual chicken barbecue under the tent at the Legion post, 100 Armory Ln. The $7 price includes not only the chicken, but also all the fixings and dessert.
Middlebury's annual Memorial Day Parade will be held Monday, May 30, beginning at 9 a.m. The parade will start at Poter Field and end at the Civil War soldiers monument next to the town green. The parade is billed as "dog friendly" event.
The Middlebury High School Marching Band and the Catamount Pipes and Drums, will head the parade and the memorial ceremony. Re-enactors will honor America's fallen heroes at the Middlebury Civil War Monument across from the TownHall Theater. Highlights of this year's parade include the Middlebury Union Middle School and Mary Hogan Elementary School marching bands, Vermont Shriners, among others.
The Bristol American Legion Post 19 will host the Bristol Memorial Day Parade Monday, May 30 starting at 1 p.m. in front of Mt.Abraham Union High School. The parade will head out from the high school parking lot to Main Street. Downtown, the parade concludes at Bristol Park with a wreath-laying ceremony, at 1 p.m., at the Bristol War Monument. Following the ceremony, the public is invited to a picnic that concludes at 3 p.m.
Orwell traditional Sunday parade which starts at 1:30 p.m. with the Catamount Pipe Band, American Legion color guards, the Fair Haven Union High School band and Shriners participating. The parade starts on North Orwell Road and proceeds along Main Street to Church Street
The Town of Hancock will host its annual Hancock memorial Day Parade Monday, May 30, starting at 10 a.m. at the town clerk's office. The parade, the smallest in AddisonCounty, follows one route downtown to the cemetery. This year, patriotic music will be played by the Rochester High School Band.
Just across the Addison County line in Brandon (Rutland County), the town's annual Memorial Day will start in front of the downtown post office at 10 a.m. The parade route will follow U.S. Route 7 to the Brandon Green. Across from the library, a wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Brandon Civil War Monument. A portion of Route 7 will be closed during the parade between 10-10:30 a.m.