For veterans, Hartford parade more than just a way to honor serv - WFSB 3 Connecticut

For veterans, Hartford parade more than just a way to honor service members

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Supporters will be lining the streets of Hartford this weekend to honor thousands of our nation’s heroes.

The annual Veterans Parade is set for Sunday.

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch will be the first stop in a day of remembrance, according to parade organizers. That’s where a wreath laying ceremony will take place to honor the fallen heroes.

The parade steps off from the Capitol after that.

Nearly 3,000 veterans are expected to march, including a contingent from the University of Connecticut.

"It really is a sense of pride and honor to go out and be a part of it,” said retired Lt. Colonel Kris Perry, director of veterans affairs and military programs at UConn.

This year, he is also one of the grand marshals of Hartford’s Veterans Parade. He said he’ll be representing a community of about 1,500 military servicemen and women who work at UConn or attend school there.

He said many of them have combat experience.

"It's great for them to have a place like this oasis, or other offices like this here on campus to have faces familiar to them, because being in academia is so different than being in the military,” Perry said. “And those transitions can often be difficult."

Leading the oasis organization is Samuel Surowitz, a senior.

This week, he said they’re working to organize holiday packages for homeless veterans in Connecticut. After serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Surowitz said the veterans programs at the university have been huge for adjusting from military life to life on campus.

“[It’s] nice to be able to connect with people who have some life experience before college,” he said.

The UConn Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs is accepting holiday care packages and letters for homeless veterans from Nov. 9 through Nov. 20. The office is located in Arjona 342A on the UConn campus.

Students can also visit the student union from Nov. 9 through the Nov. 17.

Recommended items include shampoo, soap, shaving cream and other hygiene products. Donations of laundry detergent, blankets and towels will also be accepted, along with non-perishable foods and winter clothing.

As far as the Hartford parade goes, it kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with the wreath laying. The parade itself starts at 12:30 p.m. at Buckingham and Washington Streets.At 1:30 p.m., a moment of silence will be held to remember those who gave their lives to protect the country’s freedom.

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