Editorial: After parade, the park

A loud, brassy parade with more than a thousand marchers will again highlight Ridgefield’s Memorial Day celebrations. Townspeople line Main Street, waving flags and cheering as Scout troops, soccer teams, fire trucks, politicians — and, of course, veterans — pass proudly by. The crowds disperse, some to picnics and family gatherings, others to Ballard Park, where a patriotic program culminates the parade.

The program in the park usually gets decent attendance, but given the thousands of people who line the streets for the parade, Ridgefield could do better. Be among the people in the park. There’ll be prayers and patriotic music — from the Ridgefield High School band and vocalist Evelyn Carr. Those gathered will hear thoughts from the veterans selected to be parade marshals, as well as leaders of veterans groups and First Selectman Rudy Marconi.

The ceremony is a reminder of what Memorial Day, with its roots in Civil War-era Decoration Day, is really about. Always it’s moving, with a solemn climax: a gun salute and the lonely call of taps — the voice of our town, calling back through the years to those who gave their lives for our country, our comfort, our freedom, saying: We remember.