Military veterans, police officers, firefighters, high school marching bands and others will not be marching down streets and gathering on greens for traditional Memorial Day weekend observances.
But local leaders and veterans groups are still planning to observe the holiday and pay respect to the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, with small events that are not open to the public, but will be televised and aired online.
In Meriden, the city will not hold its annual Memorial Day parade this year due to the statewide bans on large gatherings. However, American Legion Post 45 is planning to hold a small Memorial Day ceremony at its building on Hanover Road, Mayor Kevin Scarpati said.
“Typically, we get together and publicly honor our veterans and those who have fallen, and unfortunately this year we don’t have that ability, we don’t have that outlet to ask people to really reflect,” Scarpati said.
He urged people to “remember how important it is to not take for granted everything we have in life — our loved ones, our families, and let’s not forget our freedoms and those who died serving overseas and at home.”
In Southington, leaders of American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, who anticipated they would be unable to hold a parade, plan to hold a series of limited ceremonies throughout the weekend. The legion will livestream, via Facebook, a small ceremony in front of its building, at 64 Main St., at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
The legion will also hold small ceremonies at individual town cemeteries. Several of them will also will be livestreamed.
The purpose of the livestreams is to enable town residents the opportunities to pay their own tributes to the town’s fallen military veterans, explained Jason Cap, senior vice commander of Kiltonic Post 72.
“You can take part without gathering,” Cap said.
Memorial Day morning typically features a parade that starts at Derynoski School and concludes at the Southington Green. That parade has been canceled, but other traditions will continue.
For example, on Monday morning, legion members will march solo down town streets, carrying the American flag.
“We always do that, no matter what,” Cap said.
In Wallingford, the town’s Veterans Memorial Committee will hold a televised memorial service that will air on Memorial Day — at 1, 4 and 7 p.m on the WGTV YouTube channel.
The Cheshire Veterans Council is also still planning to hold small events, including a private wreath-laying ceremony on the Cheshire Congregational Church Green, said council member Leslie Marinaro.
The council will continue its Flag Across Cheshire campaign, through which residents place flags on the graves of fallen veterans.
A limited supply of donated flags are available at RW Hine Ace Hardware store, 231 Maple Ave., Marinaro said.
Marino encouraged fellow residents to be sure to acknowledge those “who sacrificed all” through their military service.
“What we’re asking for people to do is to keep the memorial in Memorial Day,” Marinaro said.
The wreath-laying ceremony will be videotaped and aired later on social media, as well as on channel 14.
Don Walsh, president of Cheshire Lights of Hope, hopes to unveil a new HOPE sign along the green this weekend. Created by a local Eagle Scout, the new sign will be in the colors red, white and blue.
Reporters Lauren Takores and Matthew Zabierek contributed to this story.