Memorial Day draws thousands to downtown: Honoring the sacrifice of Southington soldiers

Long before the crowds gathered at the town green, members of the Marine Corps League and American Legion Post 72 traversed the town to honor Southington’s soldiers at local cemeteries. Above, an honor guard pays tribute during a morning ceremony at Oak Hill Cemetery. (Photo by John Goralski)



Town residents crowded the street-sides in the center of town for a good view of the 2019 Memorial Day parade. Those who arrived early enough secured a cool spot in the shade.

“We had a great turnout for a nice, sunny day,” said American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 post commander Steve McCarty. “We appreciate the town of Southington, but most importantly today, it is not about us. It’s about those people who gave their lives for us.”

World War II veteran Thomas Ulinskas raises the flag at a ceremony at Southington Care Center. The 95-year-old man served in India and Burma during the war.
(Photo by John Goralski)

Thirty-three young men of Southington paid the ultimate price in World War II. Thirty-three families of Southington mourned the loss of a son. Thirty-three times, the town hall flag was lowered to half-staff for each man, and once more for President Franklin Roosevelt.


“Remember those sacrifices, the sorrow of the families, the loss of the community,” said McCarty. “Remember also the reasons they stepped forward to protect our borders, to defend democracy, and to maintain the freedoms we so cherish.”

Town council chair Chris Palmieri reminded veterans and those currently serving in the military that they will always have a home in Southington.

“Although we now recognize a special day to honor those who lost their lives serving in the U.S. military, I ask you all consider honoring past, current and future veterans throughout the year, and not just today,” said Palmieri.

A legion member lays a wreath at a local cemetery in the morning. (Photo by John Goralski)

He explained that the town honors military men and women in a variety of ways. The memorials on the town green remember veterans of Southington. The American Legion and the Southington Veterans Committee offer events and support throughout the year to military veterans. Those who are currently serving are honored on the town hall wall of honor. Those who have committed to enter the military after graduating high school are honored at the annual military luncheon.

“I am proud that our town leads by example,” said Palmieri.

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Jim Lord plays “taps” during the post-parade ceremony to lay wreaths
at the town green memorials.

Sunny skies and rising temperatures drew thousands to the center of town for Southington’s Memorial Day parade. Morning activities throughout town went off without a hitch on Monday. Southington’s Marine Corps League and American Legion Post 72 kicked off the day with a journey to cemeteries in Southington, Plantsville, Marion, and Milldale to honor local military members with gun salutes, playing of taps, laying of wreaths, and prayers. After a joint flag raising at Southington Care Center, officials moved downtown for the parade and post-parade ceremonies at the American Legion hall and the town green.


Members of the Knights of Columbus stand at attention during post-parade ceremonies at the legion hall.
American Legion Post 72 commander Steve McCarty salutes the flag during the post-parade ceremonies on the legion steps.
American Legion member Steve Pintarich and his granddaughter, Keegan, enjoy the parade.
Members of the Marine Corps League draw cheers from the large downtown crowd during the Memorial Day parade.
A boy waves to the parade crowd aboard one of Southington’s fire engines.
The Blue Knight marching band, above, brought a flash of color and music to the parade. Bands from Southington High School, Kennedy Middle School, and DePaolo Middle School marched in the parade.

Local legion members fold the worn American flag for proper disposal before raising a new flag at Southington Care Center.