Groton’s annual Memorial Day observance will be held on Monday, May 27 and will consist of a parade with ceremonies at the Main Street Common, Old Burying Ground, Groton Cemetery, and Sawyer Common. As always the parade honors veterans of ALL wars, but this year’s special theme will be the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. We would like to invite ALL veterans to join us, whether in uniform or not. Veterans who wish to participate but are unable to march are asked to contact Dave Elliott at (978)448-6303 to arrange a ride in one of the vehicles in the parade.
Our Grand Marshall and primary speaker this year is Major General Craig Olson, Program Executive Officer for C3I and Networks at Hanscom Air Force Base. We will be joined at the Cemetery again this year by the Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus, 12-time Northeast District champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society .
We will assemble on the grass of Legion Common at 8:30 AM with each unit gathering between numbered signs on the common and the Old Burying Ground. The order and sign number are in the separate “Order of March”.
At 8:50 AM the Groton Police Department will close School Street and all units will move into the street, retaining the order established on the Common, and we will start the parade promptly at 9:00 AM. Parade vehicles and their riders will meet on the north side of School Street in front of Badger Funeral Home at 8:45 AM -- drivers are asked to be in place absolutely no later than 8:40 AM. The parade will proceed out to Main Street, return to Legion Hall, move on to the Groton Cemetery with a stop at the Sawyer Common enroute, and return to Legion Hall. While we never know for sure how long the parade will take, we are usually back at Legion Hall by about 11:15 AM.
Parking will be a problem for participants and spectators alike -- THERE WILL BE NO PARKING ANYWHERE ON THE PARADE ROUTE WHICH INCLUDES ABSOLUTELY ALL THE STREETS AROUND LEGION HALL! We are asking everyone who can walk or carpool to do so. Participants are requested to try to park outside the parade route and leave the lot behind the Boutwell School for veterans and participants with heavy or bulky equipment such as guns or large musical instruments. Available areas outside the parade route include Sacred Heart Church lot [NOT on West Street next to the church], medical offices and bank parking lots on Main Street beyond Sacred Heart Church, Willowdale Road [includes block between Main and Hollis Streets -- this block will be closed] and Main Street EAST of Hollis Street.
Anybody who NEEDS close-in parking is asked to contact Parade Adjutant Bob Johnson at (617)513-4484 who will try to coordinate space. I will be wearing a Legion uniform with blue-and-gold “rope” on my left shoulder at the parade. Any questions on the day of the parade should be directed to me. In the event of questionable weather on Monday, LEADERS of units are asked to call my office phone (978)448-1175 after 6:15 AM [answering machine will be updated with a message indicating parade status] and then get the word out to your group. Our inclement weather plan calls for wreath-laying ceremonies by a small group of veterans and firefighters -- all other activities will be cancelled.
When the annual Memorial Day parade was rerouted a decade ago with a new starting/ending point, most aspects of the parade were improved but one major issue developed: PARKING! The previous start point on Station Avenue offered a number of parking options including Court Street, the Electric Light Department and Buckingham Bus lots, the town hall and (then) Bank Boston lots, and both sides of Main Street east of Station Avenue. The downside was that the parade route was several blocks longer and everyone had to walk several blocks back to their cars. The new route means we start and end at the same point and we do not have children and other participants trying to cross a very busy Main Street, but parking is EXTREMELY LIMITED in the area around Legion Hall. ALL streets along the parade route MUST BE KEPT CLEAR to avoid situations where pedestrians, especially small children, suddenly appear from between parked cars.
We are asking you to begin discussing transportation and parking needs with your group now so we can minimize the parking issue. There are several areas where parade participants and spectators can help with parking.
1. Please ask all of your participants who are able to walk to and from the Legion Hall area are asked to do so -- a substantial number of the veterans walk to and from the parade, even a number of veterans who are in their 80’s!
2. Please ask other participants in your group to carpool wherever possible so that we minimize the number of vehicles needing parking spaces -- if carpooling from your homes is not feasible, please consider something along the lines of dropping participants at Legion Hall, driving to a more remote lot like the high school, and carpooling the drivers back to the Legion Hall area.
3. If equipment such as flags, instruments, or rifles are involved, please try to arrange something along the lines of item number 2 to help minimize the parking requirements in the Legion Hall area -- one of the bands in last year’s parade planned on its own to park and meet at the Sacred Heart church parking lot and EVERYBODY walked to Legion Hall.
4. If some of your participants are unable to walk from a distant parking area due to medical or other concerns, please try to arrange rides from distant parking areas to drop them off at Legion Hall with a driver taking the car to a distant lot and walking back -- some of our veterans fall into this category due to age and/or war wounds and they generally get rides from other participants.
We understand fully that not everyone can make arrangements to avoid driving to and from the parade but the more help your group can provide, the easier the parking situation will become.
Your assistance and cooperation in this area will be greatly appreciated and will contribute greatly to maximizing participation in the Memorial Day parade while maintaining the safest of environments for everyone involved.
The parade will form on School Street facing southwest and proceed out to Main Street, turn left, and stop SURROUNDING the common at the Firemen’s Memorial. A brief ceremony will be conducted before continuing easterly to Hollis Street. The parade will then turn left onto Hollis Street and proceed north to stop in front of Legion Hall, occupying BOTH the Legion Hall driveway AND Hollis Street. A ceremony will be conducted by the Groton Minuteman Company at the Old Burial Ground, honoring veterans of the Revolutionary War.
The parade will then reform on Hollis Street and School Street and proceed north on Hollis Street to the Sawyer Memorial Common where Martins Pond Road intersects with Hollis Street, and stop SURROUNDING the common. A brief ceremony will be held, honoring the Korean War and Viet Nam War veterans.
Upon completion of the special ceremony, the parade will proceed north on Hollis Street, marching to Groton Cemetery at the convergence of Chicopee Row, Longley Road, and Blossom Lane.
At the cemetery, a special ceremony "Exercise at the Mound" will be conducted, honoring veterans of several wars.
Following the ceremony in the cemetery, the parade will form at the cemetery entrance and proceed south on Hollis Street, turn right onto School Street, and turn left to pass in front of Legion Hall. The parade will then disband behind Legion Hall.
Refreshments will be served by the Laurence W. Gay Post #55 Auxiliary and other participating groups.
1. GROTON POLICE DEPARTMENT - Chief Palma [sign #1]
2. GROTON AMERICAN LEGION POST # 55 - Joseph Fischetti, Commander [sign #3]
3. OTHER VETERANS [sign #5]
4. VETERANS IN CARS - David Elliot, Coordinator
5. GROTON MINUTEMEN COMPANY - George Brouillette, Acting President [signs #8 to 10]
6. STATE AND TOWN OFFICIALS - Groton Board of Selectmen [sign #12]
7. BOY SCOUT TROOPS [signs #13 to #17]
8. CUB SCOUT PACKS [signs #18 to #21]
9. GIRL SCOUT TROOPS - Judy Durling, Coordinator [Cadettes, Juniors, Brownies, Dasies] [signs #22 to #31]
10. GROTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY [sign #32]
11. GROTON MARCHING BAND AND CHOWDER SOCIETY [signs #33 to #36]
12. GROTON FIRE DEPARTMENT - Chief Bosselait [sign #38]
13. FIRE TRUCK - Groton Fire Department
|| 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice
|| Joseph Fischetti, Commander, Laurence W. Gay Post #55
| MEMORIAL PRAYER
|| Rev. Paul Ring, Pastor, Our Lady of Grace Parish
| FLORAL DECORATIONS
|| REVOLUTIONARY WAR
WAR OF 1812
SPANISH / AMERICAN WAR
WORLD WAR I
WORLD WAR II
LEBANON / GRENADA
| MEMORIAL ADDRESS
|| Major General Craig Olson
Program Executive Officer for C3I and Networks
Hanscom Air Force Base
| RIFLE VOLLEY SALUTE
|| Groton Minutemen Company
|| Groton Marching Band and Chowder Society
| NATIONAL ANTHEM & GOD BLESS AMERICA
| Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus