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Orange Memorial Day Ceremony Rainy Weather Style

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May 302021
 

The Memorial Day Ceremony at the gazebo is a treasured tradition in the town of Orange. The Memorial Day Committee works tirelessly for months to plan the events, from who the honored veterans will be to inviting town and state dignitaries and putting together the marching order for the parade.

So when Mother Nature sticks her nose into the mix and decides to rain on the parade, the committee has to quickly change the logistics — move the very important ceremony indoors — inform the public that there won’t be a parade, and ensure that the building custodian is available at the conclusion of the ceremony.

 

This year, longtime chairman Kevin Gilbert, who ran the events for decades, took a step back and handed the reigns over to Kellie Martino. Oh, Kevin is still a part of the planning but he is happy to see things run so smoothly with a new chairman at the helm. “She did a wonderful job, thinking to do things we’ve never done before,” Gilbert said. “Like the Facebook page.”

Martino brought the Committee into the 21st century, introducing an Orange Memorial Day Parade Facebook page to which everyone could refer for information and last-minute updates, such as posting the parade cancellation at 8:30 a.m.

The indoor ceremony was last-minute indeed, but very well organized and well attended. The Orange Police Honor Guard, accompanied by Chief Robert Gagne and Assistant Chief Max Martins were present. Members of Orange CERT, a scout troop, and the American Legion Post 127 Honor Guard also attended. The entire rear corner of the Community Center Gym was filled by the rank and file of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department.

Many veterans filled the seats, that were spaced a “safe distance” apart. Some in the audience wore masks, others did not.

The ceremony followed the regular schedule, invocation; Pledge of Allegiance; Diane Raikis’s beautiful rendition of the National Anthem; comments from First Selectman Jim Zeoli, then the introductions of, and comments by the three honored veterans — Grand Marshal Dr. Norman Marieb Lt. MCUSNR US Navy 1961-63, Chief of Staff Kevin Hadlock Lt. US Navy 1971-74, and Honored Veteran Louis Eagle SP4 US Army 1960-63.

Our lawmakers came next: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and former House Republican Leader Themis Klarides.

They were followed by Keynote speaker Chris Carvath, an attorney who also serves on the Orange Police Commission.

Anna May Pieger, the president of the Post #127 Auxiliary presented the sons of Al Pol and Richard Manley the sashes that their fathers wore in past parades.

One staple of the ceremony is the student essay winners’ reading of their winning submissions. The subject of the 2021 essay was “Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?”

The winners, one from each Orange elementary school were Armaan Shrivastav, Chloe Chang and Avery French. Their essays won the approving nods of the veterans in attendance.

Rosa DeLauro and Richard Blumenthal both took copies of the essays to enter into the state’s congressional and senate records.

New this year, was the Memorial Day Program Cover Contest. The winner of the inaugural contest was student Avery Alves.

Fred O’Brien read the names of every Orange veteran who passed away between May 2019 to May 2021.

Kevin McKeon played Taps as the veterans stood at attention and saluted.

The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Antoinette Hudgens.

It was wonderful to see so many families come out to honor the brave men and women who helped to secure our freedom.

 

 

Photos: 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony At the Gazebo

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May 292016
 

It was a sunny, breezy hot day on the Orange Fairgrounds for the 2016 Orange Memorial Day Ceremony.

IMG_0945Robert Mirto, Esq., was the Master of Ceremonies, and he and all of the honored guests kept their addresses short, so there were no medical emergencies and the parade stepped off earlier than in some past years.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, and First Selectman Jim Zeoli made brief comments, and two students from Orange Elementary Schools read short poems.

One woman who was honored at the ceremony was Magdalen Cronin, 100, who has crafted a wreath for the Memorial Day service at the cemetery for many years, and hopes to continue doing so as long as she can. “I enjoy making the wreath,” she said.

The Parade Committee did a fine job choosing the following parade recipients and keynote speaker.

Grand Marshal Arnold J. Casola is a U.S. Army, World War II Veteran – T5 Corporal – who served from 1944 to 1946. He was awarded the European African Middle Eastern, Good Conduct and Victory Medal. He is a member of theAmerican Legion Post 127 and a past Sergeant-at- Arms.

Honorary Chief of Staff James T. Dallas is a U.S. Army Korean War Veteran – Corporal – who served from 1950 to 1952. He served in the National Guard from 1948 – 1950 and at the Camp Pickett, Army Hospital for 2 years. He was a member of the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for 26 years now retired. He has been a member of the American Legion Post 127 for 55 years and worked for the Town of Orange Highway Department for 27 years now retired.

Keynote speaker Emily Dewey Trudeau, is the Deputy Assistant State’s Attorney, Judicial District of Fairfield and a Bronze Star decorated Veteran. From 2005-2006, she was a Special Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office District of Utah; from 2006-2012, she was an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Navy; and she is currently Chair of the Military and Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Connecticut Bar Association.