In Norwich, They Remember
Hundreds Turn Out for Town’s Annual Memorial Day Parade
Rick Murray of the Norwich American Legion plays taps as the American flag is raised at Tracy Hall in Norwich, Vt., in an observance following the Memorial Day Parade on May 25, 2014. The parade also included an observance at the gravesite of Norwich University founder Alden Partridge at Fairview Cemetery in Norwich. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Lt. Col. Kate Van Arman, currently serving in the Army, carries her son David Mitchell, 4, who looks to his grandfather Jay Van Arman, a Vietnam veteran, as the family walks in the Memorial Day Parade in Norwich, Vt., on May 25, 2014. Kate Van Arman plans to move back to Norwich after finishing her service, making her son the sixth generation of her family to grow up there. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
William Anderson, left, 12, and his twin brothers Rhys and Noah Anderson, both 8, eat at Norwich Green after the Memorial Day Parade in Norwich, Vt., on May 25, 2014. The Anderson brothers marched in the parade with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Fred Adams, right, marches with other members of the Norwich American Legion during the Memorial Day Parade in Norwich, Vt., on May 25, 2014. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Norwich — Though gray clouds drifted across the Upper Valley sky Sunday morning, sunlight broke through just in time for the town’s annual Memorial Day parade.
Hundreds of spectators flocked to the heart of town for the procession, which began at noon at the American Legion post on Beaver Meadow Road, turned onto Main Street and finished on Church Street, at the town green.
Raymond Royce, the parade’s grand marshal and a World War II veteran, rode in a vintage Army jeep at the head of the parade.
Dozens of current and former service members marched in uniform, representing the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.
The veterans marched to the cadence of marches played by the Upper Valley Community Band, towed on a float by a pickup truck in the middle of the procession.
The other participants in the parade included the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Norwich Lions Club, Marion Cross School and Upper Halley Grange.
A truck from the Norwich Fire Department rounded out the small procession.
On the way up Beaver Meadow Road towards the center of town, the corps of veterans stopped in Fairview Cemetery to honor Alden Partridge, who is buried there. Partridge, a former superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, founded Norwich University in 1819.
“Every year we lay a wreath on his grave in honor of what he has done for the military,” Jim Harlow, commander of the Lyman F. Pell American Legion post in Norwich, told the scores of parade-goers who followed the veterans into the cemetery.
Kevin Goodwin, a Norwich cadet, had the honor of placing the wreath this year.
The procession then turned right onto Main Street, where every utility pole was adorned with an American flag.
The hundreds of residents that lined the parade route applauded the veterans as they passed.
The veterans ended their march in front of the town hall, where two memorials commemorate the Norwich residents who have served in the armed forces since the Revolutionary War.
Harlow thanked the crowd for attending and spoke of the meaning of Memorial Day.
He said it is important to honor those who have served overseas, where soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are far away from friends and loved ones, often facing harrowing challenges.
“It is incumbent upon us to remember them,” Harlow said.
Four members of the Legion fired blanks from bolt-action rifles as a salute, which startled some dogs and young children. After the four-gun salute, a Legion bugler played Taps, then Harlow signaled the Community Band to play The Star-Spangled Banner.
As the band played the national anthem, Army veteran Jeff Goodrich raised the American flag and POW MIA banner to full mast. The veterans saluted the flag, while the others present — from facepainted children to senior citizens — placed their hands over their hearts.
The ceremony complete, Harlow ordered the veterans to fall out to the town green, where organizers had prepared a smorgasbord of free refreshments.