Last year, 20 first responders gathered at Veterans Day. A somber ceremony continued Westport’s decades-long Memorial Day celebration, in the midst of a global pandemic.
This year, crowds once again lined the parade route. Police, firefighters, EMTs, school bands, fifers and drummers, Boy and Girls Scouts, young soccer and baseball and lacrosse players, politicians — and many more — marched.
World War II and Korean War veterans rode proudly in convertibles.
Friends greeted each other. Newcomers marveled at what a small town Westport really is.
At the Veterans Green ceremony afterward, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe weaved together past Memorial Days, COVID, and this year’s celebration. He read the names of Westporters lost in the past year (including last year’s grand marshal, Patricia Wettach, a victim of the coronavirus).
This year’s grand marshal, World War II veteran Nick Rossi, was the man of the hour. His grandson, Nick Rossi, delivered a powerful speech. “Taps” rang out.
Westport is back. So is one of our town’s most cherished traditions. This is a Memorial Day we can never forget.
Grand marshal, 98-year-old World War II veteran Nick Rossi (Photo/Ted Horowitz)
WWII veteran, T/SGT Lawrence Aasen, 13th Airborne Division, age 98, at the ready. (Photo/Susan Aasen)
Getting ready for the parade (Photo/Ted Horowitz)
The vanguard of the parade turns onto the Post Road. (Photo/David Squires)
Mireille Perrin Delorey (21 months) at her first Memorial Day parade. (Photo/James Delorey)
In a thrilling gesture, Officer Eric Woods pulled Dylan Curran out of the crowd on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge to march with the Westport Police Department. (Photo/Rosanna Jon)
Dylan stands proudly with Chief of Police Foti Koskinas, and his force. (Photo/Stacie Curran)
Westport Emergency Medical Service (Photo/Matthew Slossberg)
Post Road collage (Photo/Burton Stuttman)
One fife and drum corps … (Photo/Irene Mastriacovo)
… and another, in a timeless shot. (Photo/Stan Witkow)
Post Road salute (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)
Go Blue Sox! (Photo/Molly Alger)
Surprise! (Not!) Once again, the always creative Y’s Men won the grand prize in the float contest. (Photo/Dan Woog)
Former 2nd Selectwoman Betty Lou Cummings (front) and friends.
Decades from now, these youngsters can say they saw World War II veterans at a Memorial Day parade. (Photo/Dan Woog)
For over 60 years, Korean War veteran Bill Vornkahl has organized Westport’s Memorial Day parade. This morning, he acknowledged the crowd’s sustained applause. (Photo/Dan Woog)
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