MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Damp and dreary weather couldn’t darken the spirits for the Middletown Memorial Day Parade. Thousands lined Main Street for the parade that’s over a hundred years old.
“I love coming out to the parade because I’m just very patriotic,” said Giordano Pugliares, a 5th grader attending the parade with his family. “And I love all the stuff they do, like the band.”
Of course the upbeat marching bands were out in force Monday. But the parade was led by a solemn procession of bagpipes, signaling the true meaning for Memorial Day.
Just a few miles from the celebrations in downtown Middletown sits the State Veteran Cemetery. It is the final resting place of thousands who served this country and many who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Harry Pokorny knows that sacrifice all too well. When he was just a baby, his father — Harry Senior — was killed in action during World War Two.
“The second World War. He was a navigator on one of the big bombers,” Pokorny said, holding back tears as he watched the parade. “It crashed.”
The father’s death, ultimately saving the son from potential horrors of Vietnam. A war that would claim over 58,000 American lives.
“Eighteen years old, I got drafted for Vietnam,” Pokorny said. “But ended up I didn’t have to go because I was a sole surviving son. It kept me from having to serve in Vietnam.”
The Middletown parade has been a tradition for generations. T’Nyra Jackson’s parents used to bring her as a child. Now she’s passing that on by bringing her three year old daughter, with American flag in hand.
“Watching everybody in there. I have family in here,” Jackson said. “The veterans coming out. I have people in the military that I represent out here for them.”