SAAC: Branford, CT's Veterans Day Observances and Parade, Sunday, November 13, 2011
(this page new as of 11/25/2011)

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Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011A Great Day To Honor Our Veterans...

No need to be too wordy, since I think the photos on this page pretty much tell the story of what a wonderful time we had being able to help pay tribute to our military veterans this past Sunday, November 13th, 2011, in Downtown Branford, within the Branford Veterans Day Observances and Parade.

We appreciated very much Branford Veterans Parade Committee Chairman Whelan's welcome for antique autos to participate, and did our best to help spread the word about that opportunity, via the listing on the SAAC web site's Calendar page .

As the day came closer, it became clearer that I would be able to participate with an antique auto myself (something I had not been able to do for several recent years due to commitments to march with the Boy Scouts), and with "Luigi" the '56 Ghia having recently been moved out to an accessible spot in the garage, I figured it would be good to get him out for a bit more late-season exercise. And just for fun, I decided to try out the set of 16" diameter wheels & whitewall tires that I had done up years ago for our '50 Bug, on Luigi. Our VW friend Bill Silvestri has been having some fun this past season driving around in his '60 Bug Convertible with a kool set of 16-inchers (including super-extra-kool vintage Michelin radials--check out this sample image of Fritz as-equipped, from earlier in the year; photo by Greg Mattesen), and so I thought it would be fun to check out how Luigi would look and drive with a "big 'n skinny" set of sneakers also (although in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that VW Type 1s stopped using 16-inchers somewhere around mid-'53 or so, and moved to 15s, with a slightly wider width also: 4" for the 15s, compared to 3" for the 16s). Here's a view of the work scene during wheel & tire changeover; here is a comparison shot of one of the 15s that were on Luigi previously, with one of the '50 Bug's 16s; and finally, here is the "overall look" of Lugi on the 16-inchers, also from the same day.

Anyway, the weather for the day was looking great, and after we got the "alternate sneaks" onto Luigi that morning, a brief driveway test did not reveal any obvious fenderwell rubbing. I asked our daughter Sarah if she wanted to come along for the Parade, and she did (since Diane was busy with other projects and Matt was still up at UConn).

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011Sarah and I got down to the Branford Rear Green a little before the start of the Observances at the Cenotaph area (within the natural amphitheater at the back of Town Hall), got our car parked at the corner of Montowese and South Main, right in front of an awesome '53 Maxim Firetruck, with "Branford Headquarters Engine Co. 8" markings, and right nearby another very impressive-looking group of antique police cars parked a little further up Montowese (some googling later on revealed, it appears, that this group of antique police cars may be associated with the police car enthusiast web site: http://www.policecars.us/ - it sure was great that they were able to participate!). We also saw Mark Castiglione's fantastic 1945 US Army Jeep parked at rear green nearby the edge of Taintor Drive, with Walter "Sergeant Z" Zielinski as his passenger, getting ready to do their part to help honor veterans also.

Soon the ceremonies at the Cenotaph got underway, with many town and religious leaders reminding us about the meaning of Veterans Day, and why we need to remember and thank all of our veterans. Appropriate musical selections were played by the Branford Town Band, the Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps, and the Branford High School Band, plus "Taps" by a lone bugler, and a ceremonial gun salute. Units, including veterans, civic organizations, and numerous Scout troops, were then asked to get into order and begin the Parade. We fell in line behind the Branford Town Band on their flatbed trailer, and the Totokets Ancient Fife & Drum Corps were right behind us.

The spectators lining the parade route seemed uniformly enthusiastic, and, as noted, the beautiful warm and bright weather made for a wonderful overall experience. All too soon, we had rounded the turn near Richlin's, were on our way back up Main Street again, eventually to the reviewing stand at the Front Green. After saluting the officials, we pulled over to remove the patriotic decorations we had affixed to the Ghia, and then enjoyed a nice drive home. Happily, I was able to get some good photos along the way during our experiences, and I hope the ones laid out for this issue's front and back COVERS help to convey what a fine & honorable day it was. We again thank the Branford Veterans Parade Committee for the invitation extended for antique autos to participate in this year's Veterans Day Parade, and also, of course, all of our Military Veterans who have given us all so much.

More from the 2011 Branford Veterans Day Observances and Parade...

IMAGES BELOW: Everyone was at attention for the singing of the Star Spangled Banner during the Observances at the Cenotaph. Those are some members of the Totokets in the left foreground of the second shot.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGE BELOW: All types and ages of Scouting groups were represented. Here some enthusiastic "Daisy" girl scouts pose for pictures.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGE BELOW: Distinguished speakers reminded us of the meaning and significance of Veterans Day during the ceremonies at the Cenotaph.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGE BELOW: A far view from the eastern side of the Cenotaph area, to give an idea of the scope of the gathering for the Branford Veterans Day Observance, complete with some nice afternoon sunlight and fall foliage color.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGE BELOW: "Sargeant Z" in his position of honor in Mark Castiglione's WWII Army Jeep before the start of the Parade. Note the sign on the front of the vehicle commemorating Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGES BELOW: Superb group of antique police cars staged along Montowese Street, prior to the start of the Parade. Check out this web site for more info on the antique police car enthusiast hobby: http://www.policecars.us/

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGES BELOW: Here's our old Ghia staged at the corner of Montowese and South Main, right in front of a magnificent '53 Maxim Firetruck with "Branford Headquarters Engine Co. 8" markings.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGE BELOW: Underway in the Parade, I was able to shoot this picture looking behind us during a brief pause, with the Totokets visible at the left foreground, Fire Department officers behind them, and then the '53 Maxim.

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

IMAGES BELOW: And we'll finish up with two views out thru the front windshield of the Ghia as we approached the reviewing stand at the Front Green area. That's the Branford Town Band on their flatbed trailer directly in front of us, and they did an outstanding job all along the way!

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

Branford Veterans Observances and Parade, 11/13/2011

In Conclusion

I hope that our report gave a feeling for what a wonderful day it was and a wonderful opportunity to honor our Veterans. Thanks again to the Branford Veterans Parade Committee for inviting antique autos to participate again this year, and to all who made this wonderful event possible. Thanks Veterans and God Bless America.


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