Monroe’s annual Memorial Day Parade is this Sunday

The Memorial Day Parade gets underway last year, as the procession moves along Monroe Turnpike.

MONROE, CT — The annual Memorial Day Parade, featuring authentic World War II vehicles, cars, floats and marchers on foot, is scheduled to be held this Sunday at 1 p.m. The theme is “Honoring Our Heroes”.

The procession will travel from Elm Street and Route 111 north, moving up Monroe Turnpike to the Monroe green. The parade will be led by the town’s local veterans, military groups, police officers, First Selectman Terrence P. Rooney, State Rep. Tony Scott, R-Monroe, and other officials from the state of Connecticut.

Members of Monroe’s three volunteer fire companies and Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Services personnel will also march with their vehicles on display.

The march will end at the War Memorial on the Town Hall Green, where the memorial ceremony will be held. This year, the veteran the Parade Committee will spotlight is Cpl. Norma Chavez-Bissell, 68, of Monroe, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974 to 1979.

Norma Chavez-Bissell of Monroe, a Marine and a member of American Legion Post 176, removes moss and weeds from the bricks of the Monroe Veterans Memorial in front of Monroe Town Hall.

Chavez-Bissell and her husband Doug moved to Monroe in 1997. Between them they have six children and five grandchildren. Two of their sons and one of their grandchildren graduated from Masuk High School.

“Honestly, I feel very humbled and a little bit concerned because most of the veterans our age have been involved in some specific conflict, and even through I joined during the Vietnam era, I don’t feel I did enough,” Chavez-Bissell said.

“But I love the United States,” she said. “My family moved here from Costa Rica in 1970. Two of my siblings served in the Marine Corps as I did and one in the Army. We wanted to give back to this great country and we are honored to have served.”

Among the highlights of her military career, Chavez-Bissell was elected Molly Marine, which is awarded to the recruit who best exemplifies the Esprit de Corps (Marine Purpose), and she graduated at the top of her class at the Personnel and Administration School.

Her awards also include Meritorious Mast, Meritorious promotions to Private First Class and Corporal, and the Connecticut Veterans Wartime Service Medal.

The ultimate sacrifice

“As we celebrate Memorial day, we must remember the echoes of history,” First Selectman Terry Rooney said. “As we celebrate military service through barbecues, parades, and other events, we should also pay homage to those who fought and recognized freedom is indeed not free. We should keep somewhere in the back of all our minds that freedom comes at a cost… one that many of our military heroes paid for with their lives.”

“Those brave men and women that we recognize today left behind families, dreams and a future to defend their neighbors and fellow Americans to preserve the ideals of the United States of America,” he said.

“Memorial Day is a time to remember and thank those that have served our country through their bravery, sacrifice and strength,” said Parade Committee Chair Vida Stone. “The women and men who have given their lives to something bigger than themselves are truly our heroes. The ceremony at the War memorial immediately following the parade is as special and as important as the parade itself and well worth attending.”

Stone said organizations can still sign up to participate in the parade by providing a marching unit and/or having a float. To register, click here for the form.

On the day of the parade, participants will line up on lower Elm Street, beginning at 12:30 p.m. The registration form also includes directions and the line of march.

Forms should be returned as soon as possible to: Memorial Day Parade Committee, Monroe Town Hall, 7 Fan Hill Road, Monroe, CT 06468 or be emailed to [email protected].

In case of rain, the parade will be cancelled, but the ceremony will take place in the Council Chambers of Monroe Town Hall at 2 p.m. Cancellation information will be announced on WICC, WMNR and on the Town Hall’s Parks & Recreation cancellation line at 203-339-6106.

For information, call Vida Stone at 203-452-2800, ext. 1027, or email her at [email protected].

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