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Saturday, March 24 News

With parade and ceremony, New Canaan remembers

Navy veteran Robert Ross puts on his uniform only once a year. Ross, who served aboard the USS Klakring, only does so on Memorial Day, when he has a chance to honor the heroes who lost their lives while fighting for his country.

"I put it on because the town shows an incredible amount of respect on Memorial Day," Ross said. "I actually cry every Memorial Day. It's very special the way they honor the veterans and they really mean it. And I really feel it."

Ross was one of many New Canaan veterans at the Memorial Day parade Monday morning, when hundreds of residents gathered on Main Street to watch the traditional event and remember the men and women who lost their lives serving the U.S.

This year's parade featured a 19-year-old grand marshal, John Wilson, who mapped out the locations of all veterans buried at Lakeview Cemetery as part of his 2012 Eagle Scout project.

Wilson said it was "an incredible experience" to lead the parade.

The 2013 St. Luke's School graduate also created a logistical plan for the distribution of the 900 flags placed each Memorial Day and another plan for the distribution of Christmas wreaths each December.

The parade started at St. Mark's Episcopal Church and continued down Main Street all the way to Lakeview Cemetery. The event culminated with a ceremony at the cemetery, where keynote speaker Gary MacIntyre, a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War, reminded residents of the importance of honoring the military.

"All of us who served on active duty at that time did not represent the military, we were the military," he said.

MacIntyre also asked the crowd to keep supporting the U.S. armed forces. "Our military has served us well, now let's do what we can do serve the military," he said.

Richard Kent, whose father served in the army during World War II, said the large turnout Monday shows how much New Canaan cares for those who served the country.

"It's pretty moving," he said. "It's a very joyful, wonderful experience to remember our past comrades who fought in the battles."

Kent and his son, Christian, were in the parade with Knights of Columbus Monday.

Besides taping the parade marchers, NCTV 79 also taped the watchers this year.

noliveira@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6582; @olivnelson

Nelson Oliveira|Education/general assignment reporter