DANBURY, Conn. -- The weather turned out to be perfect as Memorial Day events began early in Danbury on Monday morning.
The day started early with service led by the Rev. Samuel Scott from St. Joseph Church, and the placing of the wreaths by Timothy Winkler, sergeant at arms at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, at the Civil War, Blue Star, West Street Park, and Vietnam monuments.
The parade stepped off at 9:30 a.m., with Army veteran and grand marshal Neil Aiello at the front. Aiello, a Danbury native a member of the Catholic Wars Veteran Post 1042, rode in a cream-colored convertible.
The Danbury Police Department followed behind him as the honor guard. Crowds lined the route along downtown Main Street all the way to Rogers Park Middle School, where the parade ended.
Danbury Police Chief Alan D. Baker, Mayor Mark Boughton and Fire Chief PJ Wiedl along with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and others followed.
Molly Mariano, who was visiting from Virginia, was among the crowd, sitting with her sister, niece and nephew.
“I used to come here when I lived in Danbury. It’s exciting to come and watch with my niece and nephew,” Mariano said.
The parade included school groups and civic groups as well as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the Moose Lodge. Ethnic dancers glided through the streets to the crowd's delight.
The day had started off cool but quickly escalated with the early summer heat coming through.
Trucks in the parade cooled off the crowds, squirting water from hoses and fire hydrants. Children were given candy and flags from those riding on the many floats that passed through the streets.
The parade concluded with a skydiving event in honor of the men and women who lost their lives in service to the country.
The skydiving demo team was led by Kay Hoiby of the Blue Sky Ranch as the parachuters landed at the baseball field in Rogers Park, where the reviewing stand was set up.
Glenn McKnight, a longtime Danbury resident, rode down on his bike to enjoy the parade.
“I have been coming to the Danbury memorial day parade since I was a little kid and always enjoyed it,” McKnight said.
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