A star-spangled day off: Families salute troops, enjoy beautiful weather


Memorial Day is often considered the first day of summer, and in Fairfield this year it began with a scorcher.

Thousands of residents walked the sweltering streets with sunscreen, beach towels and folding chairs — marking curbside territory for the morning parade.

While the procession was exciting (crowds jumped at surprise cannon fire and cheered for troops and veterans), the day’s real spectacle was not on the roads but on the grass. It was a day of families.


Babies rode in strollers and wagons, toddlers waved flags and blew rainbow-colored soap bubbles, teenagers laid out with friends on towels and beach chairs, and parents and grandparents set up picnic baskets under umbrellas.

All generations of American service men and women were honored, from Revolutionary War enthusiasts — including the Daughters of the American Revolution, Children of the American Revolution and a procession from the Fairfield Museum and History Center — to living veterans of World War II, Vietnam and conflicts since.

The theme of this year’s parade was thanksgiving and welcoming of Vietnam veterans, as the holiday marks a 50-year anniversary.

Floats and processions passed the town Honor Roll on Old Post Road, which lists the names of those locals who lost their lives serving the country.

Some local participants included the police and fire processions, Fairfield Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, American Legion posts, and the Fairfield Gaelic Pipe Band playing “Yankee Doodle.”

The local YMCA chipped in with a mascot duck carried by lifeguards in a rowboat, and high school and middle school bands played in marching formation.

Onlookers applauded and waved flags at throngs of service men and women, some riding atop Humvees in camouflage uniforms.

Residents added personal flair by taking out their old-fashioned hot rods and antique cars (nobody expected to see a 1970s model of the Batmobile from the TV series).

After the procession ended at South Benson, families were invited to a community picnic outside the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

Crowds of beachgoers swarmed the newly renovated Penfield Pavilion, and the Sound was filled with swimmers, boats and jetskis.


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