Connellsville's Memorial Day features wreath toss, recitation of Gettysburg Address
Connellsville will observe Memorial Day with a parade and programs, including the recitation of the Gettysburg Address to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle.
Those participating in the parade on Monday will begin to line up prior to 9:30 a.m. in the West Side. From there, the parade will proceed to the bridge service at 10 a.m., where a wreath will be thrown in the Youghiogheny River off the Crawford Avenue Bridge. Afterward, the Honor Guard will give its salute and taps will be played by the Connellsville Area Senior High Band.
The parade then proceeds to Brimstone Corner, turning on to North Pittsburgh Street, and then to the war memorial.
The commander of the day is Robert Walker of American Legion Post 762. Officer of the Day is Donald Glenn Siple of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 21.
Parade participants will be the Veterans Commission Combined Honor Guard. The program speaker is Col. Ulysses R. Winn, a senior Army instructor, and the Connellsville Area High School Army JROTC and military recruiters.
The Molinaro Band will lead classic cars carrying Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion participants as well as the Gettysburg Address speaker, Ali Beal. He is the Voice Of Democracy winner of VFW Post 21 and a student at Connellsville Area Senior High.
National Guard, Company C, 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry vehicles will participate, followed by an SAL vehicle for rifles. The next section of the parade will include American Legion Post 301, American Legion Post 762, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 21, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 265, followed by American Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder Riders and Blue Knight Riders. The Mighty Falcon Marching Band follows.
The Connellsville Area Elementary Band also will march in the parade, as well as the Retired Enlisted Association Chapter 98 and the POW-MIA and retirees and auxiliary.
Fayette EMS vehicles will be included in the parade, as well as a patriotic-theme truck from Smith's Garage. The CAHS Patriots will participate, along with various Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The Albert Gallatin High School Air Force JROTC, and floats from Liberty Baptist Church and Lynn Dairy Queens will be in the parade.
City, county and state officials will be followed by the Conellsville Area Education Association and the Catholic Daughters of the American Revolution.
Also participating will be Fayette County Fair Queen Elizabeth Hendricks and the newly crowned winner and runner-up of Connellsville's Geranium Festival, who will be announced on Saturday.
The New Haven Hose Company Bagpipers, the New Haven Hose Company marchers and the New Haven Hose Company emergency vehicles will participate as well as area fire departments, including Connellsville Township, Bullskin Township, South Connellsville, Morrell, and Springfield Township. Other units, including those riding horseback, will signal the end to the parade.
The Connellsville Area High School chorus will open the ceremony at the war memorial with the national anthem, followed by the invocation by the Rev. Steve Lamb, pastor of Albright United Methodist Church. The placing of the wreath at the monument will be done by Siple, commander, VFW Post 21 and Nancy Jones, president, VFW Ladies Auxiliary Post 21. Beal will present the Gettysburg Address followed by music by the CAHS Band.
Vietnam veteran and master of ceremonies Gerald Browell will introduce the guest speaker, Col. Ulysess Winn.
Roll call, an Honor Guard salute and taps will be followed by a musical selection from the Molinaro Band. Lamb will close the program with the benediction.
Browell has been master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day service for 18 years.
“I just received the names of the deceased veterans of the past year from Glenn Siple, president of the Connellsville Veterans Commission. Of course, every name is important, and the loss of each life is devastating to the loved ones left behind. But in reviewing the list of deceased veterans, two names really caught my attention — John V. ‘Wally' Schroyer and Benjamin F. Lincoln Jr. These gentlemen served in World War II, were prisoners of war during that conflict, were often a part of our veterans programs and were held in very high regard.
“In a very short time, veterans like Wally and Ben from War World II will be gone, and the firsthand memories of World War II will be gone with them. This is why remembering our deceased veterans, and honoring veterans in general while they are alive, is so important. I hope we have a good turnout for the parade and program,” said Browell.
Said Tom McFadden, secretary of the Connellsville Veterans Commission: “Once again, we come together to remember those few who have sacrificed their all for everyone of us. Some came home, but many others did not. Our young men and women are still on the battle front in many different places. We need to keep them in our prayers.
“Memorial Day is a time for remembrance of those who have gone before us. We owe everything we have to them. If our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, sons and daughters had not given of their time, their energy and some their lives, this world would be a very different place.”
Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.