By SHERIDAN ROY
The Plainville Memorial Day parade is planned for Monday, May 27 with its traditional ceremonies beginning at 6:30 a.m. with the flag raising at the VFW post on Northwest Drive and finishing with additional ceremonies in Veterans Park after the 9 a.m. parade.
“The ceremonies will be held rain or shine,” said Memorial Day Parade committee chair Dan Hurley. “The parade I believe may have been cancelled once or twice due to rain, but the ceremonies have never been cancelled in the town’s history and have been held every year since 1883.”
Historically on Memorial Day in Plainville, town folk would gather in the center of town and walk to West Cemetery to place wreathes and flowers.
“It’s more of a solemn tradition,” said Hurley. “That is what I consider to be the ‘traditional’ portion of the parade, so-to-speak. Since then, it has grown to include more celebratory things.”
The planning committee has announced that local veteran Tony Famiglietti will be the grand marshal of the 2019 Memorial Day Parade. The grand marshal is nominated by the committee and typically is either an individual or group that has a military background or connection, is involved with service groups and volunteer organizations, or had done something spectacular in their military career.
“Tony has had commitments to several service organizations throughout the town, and is an avid volunteer who helps many people,” said Hurley. “It is just an honor to pick somebody or a group each year. It’s a way that we can say ‘thank you for your service’ and for what they’ve continued to do in their life after service.”
This year, a fixture of the community, Joey “Jo-Jo” Robar, will be honored in the parade. Robar was known around town for many years as he used to ride his bike around Plainville. He had a physical disability, but was not held back by it.
“He always had a big smile on his face and said hello to everybody, no matter what he was going through,” said Hurley. “He was just one of the sweetest, kindest men alive.”
Robar passed away last spring at the age of 82.
In his honor, a man named Sebby Berarducci has restored Robar’s bicycle, and decorated it for Memorial Day. He will be riding in the parade.
The flag raising at the VFW Post on Northwest Drive will commence at 6:30 a.m. Procession to the cemeteries will immediately follow, traveling to St. Joseph’s cemetery on Farmington Avenue, to West Cemetery on North Washington Street, to the Old Burial Grounds on East Street.
At 8:15 a.m., the parade will stage, staring on Broad Street from Whiting Street to East Street. The parade will step off at 9 a.m. from the corner of Whiting and Broad Streets, turn north on Washington Street, east on West Main Street, staying east on East Main Street, turn south on Crown Street, turn west on Maple Street, south on Whiting Street and finishing in front of the post office.
At 9:30 a.m., the air force reserve will fly over the center of town.
Approximately 15 minutes from the end of the parade, ceremonies will commence in Veterans Park on the corner of Maple and Whiting Streets. An invocation will be held, followed by the national anthem performed by the Plainville High School band.
School essay contestants from all Plainville schools will read essays about what Memorial Day means to them. Other invited guests will give short messages, followed by a wreath presentation at all monuments by local veterans.
The Plainville Police Department firing squad and local buglers will play taps, followed by the benediction. That will end the ceremonies for the 2019 Memorial Day.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.