Swanton residents experienced day that wasn’t possible a year ago. The pandemic cancelled the town’s annual Memorial Day Parade. But this year, that changed.
The parade brought together families, children, first responders, and Guardsmen and women. A 20-member band also played in honor of veterans.
“Memorial Day is a day that we give our thanks for everything that was expected of us,” said Robert Paige.
He served the country shortly after graduating high school.
“I went to Vietnam in ’66, came out of there in ’67,” said Paige. “I was attached to heavy artillery.”
He recalled starting basic training in April and deploying to Vietnam in September. Paige went on to serve six years in the military before joining the air force.
“I met my desires with the military and I have no problems having served and looking out for others. I mean, somebody has to do it,” said Paige.
Another veteran served in the Army and Air National Guards for more than two decades. For him – Memorial Day is a day of remembrance.
“Remembering all the fallen soldiers some of my friends. That what it means to me,” said veteran Dale Elwood.
To show their respect, some community members watched the parade.
“Every time there’s a parade, we’d always be here,” said Doris Raleigh.
Raleigh has been living in Swanton for 60 years.
“It’s basically just respecting all and really everybody and the people that sacrificed their life and done so much for us,” said Jan Young.
This was Young’s first time at the parade as she and her family recently moved to Swanton.
“It was definitely nice to get and out and do something normal. it was a little different than previous parades. we would have practiced more. we only had two practices,” said Missisquoi Valley Union High School senior Denise Berger.
Berger played the flute in the parade. Members learned the song in preparation for last year’s parade but the pandemic canceled it. This year, they had two practices to relearn and memorize the music.
Her band teacher said 20 students simply volunteered to be in Monday’s parade. Another young Vermonter honored veterans and his father – who is currently serving oversees.
“At the end he says, ‘Bye, I love you,” said five-year-old Carson. On the other end of the call, he says it right back. “I say, Bye. I love you, too.”