NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A sign of normalcy during the pandemic: Memorial Day commemorations are returning this year.
Originally known as ‘Decoration Day’, the holiday began in the years following the Civil War when cities and towns across the country held springtime tributes and decorated the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers.
Decoration Day gradually became known as Memorial Day and was officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1971.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, all in-person events were canceled. This year, with COVID infection rates so low and vaccination rates so high, the state has opened back up and cities and towns are marking the holiday.
We asked Governor Ned Lamont about all the changes.
“It’s up to the local community, but I’m looking forward to a few Memorial Day parades,” he said Monday. “I know a lot are scheduled, obviously it’s outside. Little spacing is not bad. But, every community can make their own call. But, I’m looking forward to a few parades.”
The Connecticut National Guard 103rd Airlift Wing is also conducting flyovers over several local towns.
Our news partners at The Hartford Courant helped put together a robust list of Memorial Day events:
- Ansonia: American Legion Post 50’s Flag Walk on May 30 at Nolan Field at 11 a.m. It will follow the traditional parade route to Veterans Park.
- Avon: The Avon parade is set for May 31 starting at 11 a.m. at Sperry Park on Simsbury Road.
- Berlin: Berlin’s Memorial Day parade has been moved from May 29 to May 31 starting at 9 a.m. from the St. Paul’s Church in Kensington and proceeds down Farmington Avenue.
- Bloomfield: The parade is on May 31 at 11:30 from Mountain View Cemetery, following the Memorial Day ceremony that starts at 10 a.m.
- Burlington: Memorial Day ceremonies will be on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Burlington’s Center Cemetery.
- Coventry: The parade in Coventry will be on May 30 at 10 a.m. along Main Street.
- Cromwell: Cromwell’s parade on May 30 will follow its 11:30 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony at the World War I Memorial Green opposite police headquarters.
- Derby/ Shelton: The Derby/Shelton parade will be on May 31st at 9:00 a.m. The parade starts at the intersection of Howe Ave and Wharf St.
- East Hartford: The East Hartford Veterans Commission sponsors a flag-placing ceremony on May 22 at 8 a.m. at Hillside Cemetery.
- Farmington: A parade will be held May 31 at 10 a.m. starting at Sanford and Hawley on Farmington Avenue in the Unionville section. It will proceed to the town hall.
- Glastonbury: The Glastonbury Veterans Service Commission has scheduled its parade for May 31 at 9 a.m. starting at Welles Street and Main Street.
- Griswold: Memorial Day Ceremonies on May 31 at Fanning Park at 9 a.m. The parade will follow immediately after.
- Hamden: Hamden plans a ceremony on May 31 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Monument at 2623 Dixwell Ave. They canceled their parade this year.
- Mansfield: The Memorial Day ceremony begins May 31 at 9:30 a.m. in the New Mansfield Center Cemetery.
- Middletown: Marchers in the Middletown parade step off May 31 at 10:30 a.m. from St. John’s Square and go to the South Green. There will be a ceremony at 2 p.m. at the State Veterans Cemetery.
- Mystic: Canceled parade this year. Instead, they’re inviting the public to help them lay 1,500 wreaths on fallen soldiers’ graves at the Elm Grove Cemetery.
- Naugatuck: Memorial Day Parade on May 31 at 11:30 a.m. It will start at Maple Street and Water Street intersection. Route will follow Maple to Firehouse Rd, to Rubber Ave. to Church St. to the Green, where a ceremony will take place at noon.
- New Britain: The May 29 parade has been postponed to May 31 at Broad and Burritt streets due to weather. New Britain will hold a series of services at 11 veterans monuments starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 12:30 p.m.
- North Haven: The American Legion Post 76 parade at North Haven High School and ending at the Green across from town hall has been postponed due to weather.
- Orange: Orange will hold a parade following the Memorial Day ceremonies on May 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the High Plains Community Center gazebo.
- Old Saybrook: Old Saybrook Memorial Day ceremony 1st event Monday, May 31 9 a.m. – *Saybrook Point Wreath Laying (*rain or shine) – Parade steps off Elm Street 10 a.m. to Main St Town Green. More information can be found here.
- Plymouth: Marchers in Plymouth’s parade will step off May 31 at 10:30 a.m. from the Terryville Fire Department headquarters and go to Veterans Memorial in Baldwin Park.
- Rocky Hill: The town’s parade steps off May 31 at 9:30 a.m. from Rocky Hill High School.
- Simsbury: The town will sponsor music by marching bands on May 31 at noon at the Performing Arts Center, followed by Memorial Day ceremonies at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required through this link.
- Wallingford: Sunday night church service at Most Holy Trinity church on North Colony Rd. on May 30 at 7 p.m. to honor and read names of all deceased servicemen from Wallingford. On May 31, no parade but a public ceremony at 10 a.m. in front of the Town Hall.
- Waterbury: The city’s Veterans Memorial Committee is planning a ceremony on May 30 at 1 p.m. on the Green, called “Thirty”.
- West Hartford: West Hartford’s ceremony will air on May 31 at 10:30 a.m. on Comcast channel 5 and Frontier channel 6098, and will be on YouTube. In addition, the American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 will hold a brief ceremony at the Veterans Memorial at North Main Street and Farmington Avenue on May 31 at 10:30 a.m.
- Wethersfield: A wreath-laying is planned for May 29 at 10 a.m. at Northbrick Green at Nott Street and Hartford Avenue, followed at 11 a.m. by a Memorial Day ceremony at Village Cemetery.
- Windsor: Windsor’s parade will begin after the 9 a.m. ceremonies at the Veteran’s Cemetery and go to the town hall.
- Woodbury: Woodbury’s parade is set for May 30 starting at 2 p.m. at the Woodbury Middle School and ending at the Cannon Green.