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Veterans Day Parade to be held in town

| Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

The Fayette County Veterans Day parade is held each year in one of three cities -- Connellsville, Masontown or Uniontown. This year, Connellsville is honored to sponsor the event on Veterans Day, which is Friday.

The Connellsville Veterans Commission has been planning the parade for months. A mailing to organizations is done to secure participants to march or ride. Commission members are very pleased with the number of groups that will be participating. The results will be a longer-than-usual procession. The line-up will begin forming on the West Side at 10:15 a.m., move out at 10:45 a.m. and pause on the bridge for a salute at 11 a.m. Participants will then proceed to Brimstone Corner and onto North Pittsburgh Street to arrive at the Veterans Memorial at the intersection of Route 119 and Pittsburgh Street.

A Connellsville city police car and officer, followed by Mayor Charles Matthews, will lead the parade. Mass colors will be presented by Connellsville American Legion Post #301, Trotter American Legion Post #762, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #21, AMVETS Post #103, Vietnam Veterans Inc. and other honor guards. The Molinaro Band will follow; it is the band's custom to be a part of this important day.

Following the band will be a Pennsylvania Army National Guard vehicle and driver and then cars carrying the military order of the Purple Heart. The always impressive American Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder and Blue Knights will roar by, followed by classic cars with the featured speaker, Ruth A. Fairchild, and veterans from American Legion Post #301, American Legion Post #762, VFW Post #21 and Connellsville City officials.

The next segment of the parade will feature Vietnam Veterans Inc. with its float and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 58.

The New Haven Hose Volunteer Fire Co. marchers and trucks are preceded by the New Haven Bagpipe Unit, always popular with parade onlookers. Other participants will include state and county officials and dignitaries from the Fayette County United Veterans Association and the Fayette County American Legions.

Uniontown Area Senior High School band will stop and perform at times. Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike will precede cars with members of American Legion Post #51, North Union VFW Post 8543 and Farmington VFW Post # 265.

The Connellsville City Fire Department and Fayette EMS will follow. Next is the Albert Gallatin High School Band. A float by the Retired Enlisted Association with color guard was created for the day. Then, the Bullskin Township Fire Department, the Ohiopyle-Stewart Volunteer Fire Department, the Laurel Highlands Area High School Band and American Legion Post #824 members proceed.

Also marching will be Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Juniors, Brownies and Daisies. The Albert Gallatin ROTC, Smith's Garage Trucks, and the Daughters of the American Colonists, Chief Tanacharison Chapter. The lengthy procession also includes Sons of the American Legion, Laurel Highlands ROTC, Perryopolis Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard and Frazier High School Band.

Connellsville Area High School Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) will honor all veterans by marching, followed by the Fleet Reserve Association, Morrell Volunteer Fire Department and Connellsville Area Combined Junior High Schools Band. Near the end of the parade, spectators will see American Legion Post #146, Catholic War Veterans, and the volunteer fire departments of DL&V, North Union and South Connellsville. The Brownsville High School Band will be a sign that the parade is coming to an end.

Upon arrival at the Veterans Memorial, Master of Ceremonies Gerald Browell will ask for an invocation from the Rev. Will Hough of the First Baptist Church of Connellsville. The National Anthem will be sung by the Connellsville Area High School Chorus, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Boy Scouts. Placing of the wreath will be done by Leonard Dulik, junior vice commander of American Legion Post #301.

Music selections will follow by Connellsville Area High School Mighty Falcon Marching Band and the Molinaro Band.

Fairchild, state senior vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will be introduced to speak.

In June 2011, Fairchild, of New Castle, became the first female veteran and first veteran of the Desert Storm era elected to serve as state junior vice commander of the Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the largest VFW organization in the country. Due to the passing of the state senior vice commander, Fairchild was elevated into that position and will become state commander in 2012-13 if confirmed. She has been active at the state level for many years serving as state surgeon when she traveled to the state's veterans hospitals to review the care given to patients.

Fairchild enlisted in the Army in 1982 and served 12 years including in Saudi Arabia with a medical unit as part of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She has earned many awards.

The program will conclude with a music selection from the Mighty Falcon Marching Band and a benediction by Hough.

"It has been a privilege to be one of the cities to host this important event over the years. The citizens of Connellsville are honored to be able to acknowledge and thank the veterans for their service," Matthews said.

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