Scouts salute our veterans in Bristol parade Saturday

<p> <span style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">BRISTOL &mdash; Bristol will be awash in patriotic fervor Saturday when the town hosts the 16th annual Scouting Salute to Veterans Parade. The event will kick off at 11 a.m. with a parade featuring Scouts and veterans from many parts of the state and wrap up with ceremony and remarks by Maj. Gen. Steven A. Cray, the adjutant general of the state of Vermont and the senior uniformed officer in the state.</span></p><p> This is expected to be among the largest parades in Vermont. It has been organized by American Legion Post 19 and the town of Bristol on behalf of the Green Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America.</p><p> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s nothing better than to hold a parade of this significance,&rdquo; American Legion Post 19 Commander Ron LaRose told the <em>Independent </em>in announcing the parade last spring. LaRose himself served for 39 years in the U.S. Army and Vermont Army National Guard.</p><p> In addition to paying tribute to veterans and active-duty service men and women, the parade will also honor the memory of 9/11 and the brave men and women firefighters, rescue squad members, police and all first responders.</p><p> The parade starts at the intersection of Liberty and West Pleasant streets, then goes east on West Pleasant, Pleasant and Spring streets; south on Mountain Street; west on Main and West streets to the west end of the village green and into the park surrounding the bandstand. The parade route is one mile.</p><p> At the park, there will be a 30- to 45-minute presentation by Maj. Gen. Cray, introductions of other VIPs and thank yous.&nbsp;</p><p> An estimated 800 to 1,000 people are expected to participate in the parade, with upwards of 500 to 800 spectators waving flags and saluting the marchers.</p><p> Participating in the parade will be delegations from American Legion posts, VFWs and Vietnam veterans&rsquo; associations from around the state, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. Also in the parade will be antique military equipment, the 40th Army Band, Mount Abraham Union High School band, Hannaford&rsquo;s Fife and Drum Corps, Vermont National Guard personnel and equipment, Shriners, Knights of Columbus, Vermont State Police Honor Guard with antique cruiser, Bristol police and rescue squad vehicles and personnel, the Addison County Firefighters Association Honor Guard and delegations from various fire departments, including Bristol, New Haven, Lincoln, Starksboro, Middlebury, Vergennes and Rutland.</p><p> The featured speaker will be the head of the Vermont National Guard, Steven A. Cray, a two-star general. Vermont&rsquo;s 23rd adjutant general, Cray is responsible for the organization, training and equipage of nearly 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard. He also serves as inspector and quartermaster general and head of the State Military Department, including Veterans Affairs.</p><p> Maj. Gen. Cray began his military career by enlisting in the Vermont Air National Guard while a student at the University of Vermont.&nbsp; He attended the Academy of Military Science and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1984. Gen. Cray has held a variety of command, supervisory and staff positions at the 158th Fighter Wing and Vermont Joint Forces Headquarters. He is a command pilot with over 2,500 hours of military flying and nearly 20,000 hours as a commercial airline pilot.</p><p> Early this month Cray returned from a mission to the European nation of Macedonia, where he cemented a trilateral agreement among Macedonia, Vermont and the African nation of Senegal.</p><p> Cray and his wife live in Essex Junction, and they have two college-age children, a son and daughter.</p><p> Participants in Saturday&rsquo;s parade and those attending the parade are encouraged to donate non-perishable food items for the Have A Heart Food Shelf. Drop-off sites will be at Mount Abraham Union High School for participants and the Bristol Creeme stand on West Street for all others.</p><p> The site of the Scouting Salute to Veterans Parade changes each year. In the past it has been held in Barre, Montpelier, Bennington, Windsor, St. Johnsbury, Vergennes, Burlington, Waterbury, Essex Junction, Northfield, St. Albans, Milton, Morrisville and Springfield. The annual event was started in Richmond in 1999 by a high school teacher/Scout leader to encourage Scouts to recognize veterans.</p>

Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100

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