The Covid pandemic may have shut down community events and interaction for more than a year, but they are coming back as vaccination rates rise and infection rates fall.
The Easton community can look forward to the return of the Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 31. Town officials and American Legion Post 160 members met and decided to hold the parade, in accordance with current health and safety guidelines.
“We haven’t had the parade in two years because of Covid,” said Don Rodgerson, Post 160 commander. “Everyone is eager to get back to some kind of norm.”
The Easton Memorial Day Parade has been a tradition for more than 50 years. This year, four members of American Legion Post 106 will be honored for their 50th anniversary with the organization. The Easton 175th Committee will also participate in the parade.
“Right now, the plan is to have a table set up in the library parking lot for after the parade to distribute flyers and pamphlets promoting town organizations, activities, and enterprises just as we did at the polls on May 4,” according to Selectman Bob Lessler.
The Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, sports leagues, and Helen Keller Middle School band are among the many local groups and organization that will be participating. Students will hold a bake sale at the end of the parade at Town Hall.
“Easton is a very tight-knit community,” Rodgerson said. “Everyone knows everyone, so it’s nice to provide something for people to get together again face to face.”
Rodgerson is hopeful the event will help bring people together as they return to a more normal life and invites everyone in the community to be part of the parade.
“Our biggest function in town right now is the parade and we have focused on making sure everyone has an opportunity to participate,” he said. “We want to involve all of the different groups that participate to join us and become one big family.”
American Legion Post 160 meets once a month and is “always looking for new volunteers and younger people to commit to helping us so that we can expand,” Rodgerson said.
After the parade, Post 160 members will visit Easton cemeteries to honor veterans who are buried there. One week before the parade they put new flags on veterans’ graves.
“This particular day means a lot to us because it is honoring all of the service members who have given their lives to our country and for this country,” said Rodgerson. “We never turn our backs on our veterans, so our goal is to get the parade put together as successfully as we can.”
“With the infection rate in Connecticut going way down and vaccines going out to everyone we will be following the CDC guidelines which said they would open the option for no mask,” said Rodgerson. “However, we are leaving it up to the people. Everyone is welcome to wear a mask but if people have been vaccinated then we are flexible in that area.”
Although there aren’t any planned surprises for this year’s parade, that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.
“Now and then we get a military flyover because we put in the request all the time or sometimes military units will come over and march with us in the parade but it is open this year,” said Rodgerson.
“We are here to honor the veterans and their families, especially the first responders and everyone who has sacrificed their lives for this country,” said Rodgerson. “Our biggest thing is to honor the fallen, those who have sacrificed so much and went above and beyond for this country.”
For more information about the memorial day parade and other programs visit www.eastonamericanlegion.com.
Photo at top: Easton Firefighters March in the Memorial Day Parade 2018 — Photo Courtesy of Shannon Calvert