As opposed to joyful parades with large numbers of participants, Woodbridge’s comparatively low-key celebration of its service members on Memorial Day and Veterans Day has its advantages; in particular, on rainy days the event can easily be moved indoors, and that is what happened this Memorial Day.
Due to heavy rain and the prediction of thunderstorms, the event on May 30 was moved to the Center Building gym. There were no church bells and no three-volley salute, but the Police Department Honor Guard stood by, and the Boy Scouts of Troop 907 marched in to present colors. Some 50 or so were in attendance, including four soldiers from Afghanistan, where they had been part of Pfc. Eric Soufrine’s platoon when he was killed by an IUD five years ago.
Army Capt. Barry Josephs introduced the young guests as Capt. Patrick Jones, a West Point graduate; Lt. Ryan Johnson, as well as Ethan Warner, Jerome Kipp and Elvis Martin. “Many towns have parades,” said First Selectman Ellen Scalettar in her remarks, adding how Woodbridge marks the remembrance with a more solemn event. “We gather to share that moment of remembrance and respect,” she said, and, with a nod to the Soufrine Family in attendance, she added, “We gather to recognize the contributions and the sacrifices of those who lost a loved one.”
She also applauded Oscar Parente, a World War II survivor who had participated in the Battle of the Bulge. He later went on to become a math teacher and settled in Woodbridge with his wife, Marie.
Two swallows had made their way into the gym, where they fluttered nervously back and forth. “We had our own fly-bys,” said The Rev. Shepard Parsons of the First Church. “Even Nature, even creation itself is honoring those who died,” he said — “not to make more war, but to bring peace.”
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent