All photos and video by Dan Arestia

On a day when many towns in the area cancelled parades due to weather, the people of Darien came out in droves to attend their own. The parade featured veterans, emergency services personnel, and a number of local organizations. Spirits were high as flags waved, and the rain held off long enough for the day to be a success. There was even a C-130 flyover, a surprise after the town believed there would not be one this year,  which drew a huge reaction from the crowd.

Many of the town’s elected officials were on hand, with the Board of Selectmen sitting with Grand Marshall Ned Goodnow and State Rep. Terrie Wood.

Following the parade, a ceremony was held at the Darien Library. Phil Kraft, a U.S. Army veteran himself and former head of the town’s VFW, spoke about the importance of holidays such as Memorial Day. Kraft also urged those present to think more about the way we treat our veterans.

Kraft recalled the way that soldiers returning from Vietnam were treated as they came home, and spoke happily of the changes we have made since those days. Still, Kraft talked about the way that veterans now find themselves fighting for their own rights as they face health and benefits struggles. It was a poignant message that received strong applause from the audience, veteran and non veteran alike.

Following the ceremony at the library, people made their way across the street to the cemetery with three wreaths. A firing squad salute took place, and two Darien High School students played Taps, as veterans on hand saluted the flag.

Some attendees made it over to the Post 53 food fair, another Memorial Day tradition, in Tilley Pond Park, after the parade.

The joyfulness of the parade and the somber reflection of the ceremony that followed together created a perfect balance of fun and remembrance. Members of the Darien community experienced a morning full of fun and spectacle, and urged to remember all those who truly made the day special.