Darien’s Memorial Day Parade for 2018: You Can’t (Always) Tell the Players Without a Program

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Darien’s 2018 Memorial Day parade steps off at 10 a.m. sharp on Monday, May 28 from Goodwives Shopping Center, turns right and travels on Old Kings Highway South to Brookside Road and then turns left onto the Post Road until it reaches the veterans cemetery at Spring Grove Cemetery.

Here’s more of what you should know about the parade, the Memorial Day speaker and the grand marshal, along with some instructions if you’re among the marchers.

About Memorial Day Speaker Patricia Parry

The 2018 Darien Memorial Day speaker is Patricia Parry, a Gold Start Mother. Her son, Navy SEAL Chief Brian Robert Bill, was killed in action on Aug 6, 2011 in Afghanistan when the helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, he was riding in was shot down.

Photo from Monuments and Ceremonies Commission

Patricia Parry, 2018 Darien Memorial Day speaker

Pat is a Stamford native. She is the eldest of seven children of Betty Nagle and Tom Davis. She graduated from SCHS and St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in New York City.

Pat lived in Massachusetts and worked at Boston City Hospital before returning to Connecticut in 1976 where she continued her nursing career working at St. Joseph Medical Center, then in private duty nursing, dialysis and research.

Brian was the youngest of Pat’s three children from her marriage to Scott Bill. In 1988, Pat married Dr. Michael Parry and two step sisters rounded out the family to five children. Brian also had a plethora of uncles, aunts, and cousins who all loved hearing Brian’s stories.

Currently, Pat is a member of the Health Commission and anti-blight committee in Stamford; a Member of Veterans Park Partnership, Inc, working with the City of Stamford to renovate Veterans Park; a member LZ 4 Vets; and with her husband Michael is working to raise funds for scholarships in Brian’s name at Norwich University and Trinity Catholic High School.

Submitted by,

Karen Kreitzberger Polett, secretary, Monuments & Ceremonies Commission

About Grand Marshal Robert Mitchell

Long time Darien resident Robert S. Mitchell, a WWII veteran who served as an officer on the USS YMS-349 in the Atlantic theater and on another minesweeper, USS YMS-117 in the Pacific and eventually ended his naval career as executive officer on the USS YMS-117 will serve as grand marshal and lead Darien’s 2018 Memorial Day Parade.

Robert S. Mitchell 2018 Darien Memorial Day parade grand marshal

Photo from the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission

Robert Mitchell, 2018 Darien Memorial Day parade grand marshal

Lieutenant J.G. Mitchell was qualified as a navigator, gunnery, supply, commissary and communications officer. Born in Richmond Hill, NY, Mitchell graduated from the University of North Carolina with a B.S. in economics.

He spent two years at the USNTS at Princeton, N.J. and attended the Naval Reserve Midshipman School at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx and the Naval Training Center in Miami. Mitchell was awarded the American Theater Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal and the WWII Victory Medal.

He and his family have lived locally since 1970. Married to Mary, they have three sons and four daughters, three of whom live in Darien as do 11 of their 20 grandchildren.

Mitchell was for many years a Division Manager for Union Carbide Corporation, after which he became an independent marketing consultant developing and producing various brands of anti-freeze products.

Mitchell has served as past president of the Darien Men’s Association and is active as a Eucharistic minister, lector and financial assistant at St. Thomas More Church. Mr. Mitchell also served two terms as a member of the Parish Council.

He coached girls’ travel soccer and was instrumental in making girls’ soccer a varsity sport at Darien High School.

This year’s Memorial Day Parade will kick off promptly at 10 a.m. from Goodwives Shopping Center where participants are asked to assemble by 9:30 a.m. The Parade continues from the shopping center down the Post Road to Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery where a ceremony is conducted.

Submitted by,

Karen Kreitzberger Polett secretary, Monuments and Ceremonies Commission

Here’s Who’s Marching

Darien Police Department & Color Guard, Grand Marshal, Speaker, Town & State Officials, Darien High School Band, VFW Post 6933 Color Guard + Veterans,  American Legion Post 3, HonorBound Foundation, CT Patriot Guard, Connecticut National Guard,

Darien EMS–Post 53, Darien Post 53 (vehicles), Darien Historical Society, Masonic Lodge, Darien–Ivanhoe #107, Darien Chamber of Commerce, Community Fund of Darien, Darien Foundation, Darien Men’s Association, Darien Sail & Power Squadron, Darien YMCA Gymnastics Team, Noroton Fire Dept., Noroton Fire Dept. Apparatus,

Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America, Darien School of Dance, Darien Senior Activities Center, Maplewood Sr Living, At Home in Darien, Daughters of the American Revolution Good Wife’s River Chapter,  Darien Library, Darien Fire Dept., Darien Fire Dept. Apparatus,

Antique Vehicle (Williams), Jag (Lefferts), The Green Team, Pender-Keady Irish Arts Foundation, Darien YMCA Guides/Princesses, Darien Nature Center, Noroton Heights Fire Dept., Noroton Heights Fire Dept. Apparatus.

Where Marchers Assemble Before the Parade

Marchers should assemble at these spots at the Goodwives Shopping Center parking lot:

Map of 2018 Memorial Day parade assembly area


Instructions and Rules for Marchers

Monday, May 28, 2018

IMPORTANT: Please send instructions to ALL members of your group, especially groups with children

ASSEMBLY: All units must assemble at the Goodwives Shopping Center at 9 AM. Signs will indicate where each division assembles. Marchers must be in assigned position by 9:30 AM. Step off is 10 AM SHARP.

CHILDREN’S MARCHING UNITS: If you are dropping off a child, the child’s group must have an adult in place. Parents with children will not be allowed to linger or park their car. This causes congestion and unsafe conditions.

**Parents who must wait with their child, because no adult is in place, are required to park their car at the YWCA, First Congregational Church, or the Mechanic Street lot behind the Darien Fire Station, and walk their child into the assembly area.**

PARKING: Police will be directing traffic. The Goodwives Shopping Center parking lot is for shoppers and parade vehicles only. There is NO parade parking. See above for available parking lots.

IMPORTANT: Please advise everyone in your organization about these parking rules. Rules are for the safety of our marchers and for the safety of our children!


Parade Route Goodwives Shopping Center to Brookside Road to Post Road. At the end of the parade, continue on Post Road PAST Hecker Avenue. Vehicles stay to the left and walkers stay to the right. Vehicles are not permitted to stop and must continue straight past Cemetery.

Length of Parade Approximately 1.25 miles. Make sure all marchers are able to complete the parade. Marching Parade Officials will maintain a uniform cadence and a steady forward march at all times. All units will maintain a reasonable distance from the unit in front of them.

All marching units will march at least six (6) abreast, with the exception of color guards. Reviewing Stand Is located in front of Nielsen’s Florist on the Post Road where the parade will be reviewed by the Grand Marshal and other dignitaries.

Cemetery Ceremony

Please join us at the Connecticut Veterans’ Cemetery to pay respect to the military people who have preserved our freedom with the ultimate sacrifice.


In case of emergency the parade will move to the right side of the road and the necessary vehicles will pass on the left side of the road.


NO alcoholic beverages are permitted in the Assembly Area, along the Parade Route, or during the Ceremony.  NO throwing of candy, toys, or any other items in the Assembly Area or along the Parade Route. Violators will be removed.

The parade is a procession to the Connecticut Veterans’ Cemetery to honor those who died in service of our country. The spirit of the parade is to celebrate the lives of our war dead. Participants are encouraged to identify the organizations they represent, but are requested to refrain from advertisements or promotion of events that have nothing to do with Memorial Day.


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