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Bristol residents pay tribute to fallen heroes on Memorial Day



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Five-year-old Matthew from Hill solemnly waved the American flag as he waited for the Memorial Day parade in Bristol to get underway on Monday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 30, 2018
BRISTOL – The Memorial Day Parade in Bristol drew crowds of people out along the parade route, where they listened to patriotic music from the Newfound Regional High School/Middle School combined marching band and watched the solemn traditions of gun salutes and the laying of wreaths to honor America's fallen heroes.

VFW Post 10640 led the proceedings and was joined by local boy scouts, cub scouts and the Bristol Fire Department as they made their way from Freudenberg NOK to the middle school.

Their first stop on the route was at Homeland Cemetery for a brief ceremony before heading to the Richard W. Musgrove Bridge. There Rev. Wayne Toutaint offered a prayer for all who were lost at sea while serving the nation before a wreath was tossed in the Newfound River by VFW members Mike Barnett and Jonathan Ferrelli. The Honor Guard presented a gun salute, which was then followed by the Playing of "Taps with Echo" by James Shokal and James Rogers.

When the contingency finally gathered on the lawn of Memorial Middle School, Post Commander Ron Preble greeted the crowd and the band performed God Bless America after Richard Nialetz of American Legion Post 26 and Dan Arseneau of VFW Post 10640. Arseneau then gave the Memorial Day address, reflecting on the true patriotism of those who are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our freedoms and our way of life.

"Today, we pay tribute to those heroic patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice…who bravely rose up and fought for something greater than themselves, protecting a home to which they never returned. We honor their service, mourn their loss and remember the families they left behind," Arseneau said.

He went on to say that Americans have been left with a debt that can never be repaid to those brave men and women but can honor their legacy by educating those who think Memorial Day is "just another holiday" then pass that knowledge on to the next generations as well.

"We must ensure the youth of tomorrow understands the true cost of freedom. There is no greater way to honor the memory of those who have secured it," he said.

Arseneau's words had already rung true with one local family whose five-year-old-son Matthew explained before the parade that morning, "There's going to be a parade for all the soldiers who died in a battle so that's why we're here."

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