Milford Memorial Day parade returns after two-year hiatus

Grand Marshal Michael Thomas, a U.S. Navy Commander, salutes during the Milford Memorial Day Parade.

Grand Marshal Michael Thomas, a U.S. Navy Commander, salutes during the Milford Memorial Day Parade.

Hearst Media Connecticut file photo

MILFORD — It’s been two years since the Memorial Day celebrations in Milford included a parade, but that all changes on Sunday, May 29.

“We’re back,” said Jackson Thomas, Veterans, Ceremony and Parade Commission chairman. “We are excited bringing the community (together) to recognize the sacrifices that a few have made for the many to live in freedom and a democracy.”

Last year, the commission had a wreath-laying ceremony with no parade, primarily because there wasn’t enough time between Gov. Ned Lamont lifting restrictions for outdoor gatherings and Memorial Day.

“We were able to get a permit to have the parade, and groups that were invited feel more relaxed now that COVID is not first on our dashboard,” Thomas said.

This year, the annual wreath-laying will begin at 9:45 a.m. in front of Milford City Hall, and the parade will start at 2 p.m. After the parade, people will gather at the gazebo for performances by the high school bands.

“Civic groups such as police, fire, and rescue units in Milford and adjoining communities will be participating in the parade,” said Thomas. “We will also have our local veterans service organizations, high school bands and youth activity organizations participating.”

Thomas believes this year people are more aware of veterans’ issues, with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

With the parade back, the naming of a grand marshal was also something the commission had to do and members chose Marc Youngquist.

Youngquist was in the 12th Marines Artillery Regiment, Third Marine Division, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in July, 1973. He was a police officer in the Town of Cheshire from 1975-85. From then, he joined an Army Reserve drill sergeant unit and after two years transferred to the Connecticut Army National Guard. From 2003-04 he was stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, where he helped provide security and rebuild the Iraqi court and law enforcement system. In 2005, he retired.

“Please come out for the parade and enjoy the comfort of your fellow citizens,” said Thomas. “The entire event will be outside, and if you feel comfortable with a mask, they are optional.”