Memorial Boulevard will have one of New England’s largest military exhibits Sunday as part of the community’s Memorial Day activities.
Military men and women from every branch of the service will be on hand to show off everything from a U.S. Navy boat to an armored personnel carrier.
"We’re going to have all our vehicles out there," said Sgt. Michael Proulx of the New Hamphire-based 368th Engineering Battalion of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Pat Nelligan, a park commissioner who has helped organize the event since it began five years ago, said the city has "built up a tradition now" with its display of military hardware.
Mayor Art Ward said the people should come down to the boulevard to see it for themselves.
He said, too, that if offers residents a chance to talk directly to the active duty military members who have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"They can answer the questions" that people may have, the mayor said.
He urged everyone to "get the answers rather than the speculation" about the controversial wars the country is engaged in.
The Sunday celebration runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and includes a helicopter landing at 10 a.m. A ceremony is slated for 1 p.m. where U.S. Army Major General Bruce Zukaskus and SFC Gregory Stube, a who survived grievous wounds in Afghanistan, will speak.
Gerald Chamberland, who is active in veterans activities, said that people should some to learn the history of what’s gone from the men and women who were there.
Chamberland said that in hearing from the soldiers of all branches, residents will come to appreciate more deeply "the freedom we all share."
Lt. Peter Torromeo of the New Hampshire-based engineering unit said his battalion has had people at each of Bristol’s weekend events for four years.
"We don’t give up a chance to do this," he said, because of the tremendous support they get from the community and the active veterans group in town.
"Everyone treats us really nice and they are respectful," Proulx said.
"We’re very fortunate in Bristol. It’s always been a military-oriented town, even during the Vietnam War," said the mayor, who served in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam.
Proulx said he thinks the armored personnel carrier they brought down, "which looks like a little tank," will be a hit. Visitors will have a chance to clamber in and out.
"They can get out on there and see what it’s all about," he said.
11 a.m. - Dedication of aerators on Memorial Boulevard ponds and the rededication of the ‘Hiker’ monument and World War I obelisk.
11:30 a.m. - Community covenant signing
noon - Scholarship presentation in honor of the late Tony Savino
8 - 4:30 - Military exhibits
9 a.m. - Bristol Memorial Day Parade, which starts on Race Street
noon - Forestville Memorial Day Parade
PS: If anyone has tips on the best places to watch the parades from, please post them as comments. I've had a couple of requests from people who want to attend but are not sure where to go to view each parade.
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