Veterans honored with Memorial Day parade

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Wauregan - posted Wed., Jun. 1, 2011
(L-r) Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Karban and Lance Cpl. Taylor Robinson. Photos by D. Coffey.
(L-r) Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Karban and Lance Cpl. Taylor Robinson. Photos by D. Coffey.

Darlene Berube moved through the gathering of people at the Atwood Hose Fire Station parking lot in Wauregan, making sure everyone knew their parade order. Berube is commander of AMVETS Post 47 in Brooklyn, and as officer of the day, it was her job to organize the Memorial Day parade. She’d spent that morning visiting 14 different locations including cemeteries, monuments and bridges to lay wreaths in honor of the country’s fallen veterans. Under a hot noon sun, she was finishing her duties for the day. A former Marine, Berube considers it a privilege and her solemn duty to pay respects to all servicemen and women on Memorial Day.

With a police escort and a fire truck following close behind, the marchers moved out onto Route 205 and went to Sacred Heart Church in Brooklyn, almost half a mile away. Berube led a contingent of officials, including state Rep. Mae Flexer (D-44), and Plainfield First Selectman Paul Sweet.

Lance Corporals Joshua Karban and Taylor Robinson followed in their dress uniforms. Behind them a color guard from the Marine Corps League. The parade included the Plainfield VFW Post 5446, with the Ladies Auxiliary, the Moosup VFW Post 10284, and the Moosup American Legion Post 91 Color Guard with Ladies Auxiliary President Arlene Bianchi, AMVETS Post 47, the Girl Scout Troop 65423, and Cub Scout Pack 36. A contingent of Boy Scouts followed. Closing ranks was a group of firefighters and trucks from the various villages of Plainfield.

The parade route was thinly lined with young and old as it passed through the little village of Wauregan. The marchers passed by the post office and the Country Farms convenience store, the Cozy Corner restaurant and over the Quinebaug River, where they stopped to drop a wreath in the waters below. They marched past the AMVETS and VFW post and into the Sacred Heart parking lot.

Krystle Federer watched for her husband Michael, who is a volunteer firefighter.

Antonio Rendon watched with her. “I usually come every year,” Rendon said. “It’s a family thing.” Rendon’s dad fought in Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

Jeannette Rios sat in front of the post office where she works. “I’m representing the post office and the government,” she said.

Flexer read words her father, Chaplain Howard Flexer, had written on the occasion of an earlier Memorial Day. As chaplain, he had been to many military gravesites - among them the U.S.S. Arizona, the Punchbowl in Oahu and the Arlington National Cemetery.

“These men did not die easily,” Flexer wrote. He went on to list the ways some of them had met their end in defense of the country. It was a startling reminder of the extent of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women through the years.

“Behind every name is an American hero,” said Phil Young, past commandant of the Marine Corp League, Paul C. Houghton Detachment. “We must reflect on what it means to live in freedom and keep alive the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Acting Chaplain of AMVETS Post 47 Marguerite Grenier closed with a prayer. A trio of buglers played “The Star-Spangled Banner” beneath a flag standing at half staff.

Marine Corps League member Rich Harrington repeated this quote: “The men and women of the armed forces write a blank check to the United States government up to and including their very lives.”

“Memorial Day is more than just for picnics,” Harrington said.

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