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Memorial Day Memories

May 28, 2010

Cindy Donaldson, Director of Marketing & Personal Lines Sales - Founders Insurance Group

I didn’t grow up in a military family – really. I had two uncles who served in Viet Nam – I was in grade school when they returned home safe and sound . We never really talked about their time in the military much after that. Rumor has it that some of land my family owns in Goshen CT was won in a poker game after the Civil War when my great great grandfather was on his way back home to Massachusetts and never made it there.

Although I was never an Army or Navy brat ( brat probably, but not military induced), I appreciate the sacrifices made so I can sit in my office and pen this blog. I just finished reading an article in the Litchfield County Times newspaper by Virginia Wolven – a Goshenite who wrote about the Memorial Day Parade in our small little NW CT town. Growing up in Goshen , the Memorial Day parade marked the beginning of summer. Everyone in town seemed to march – from the girls scouts to the Wamogo High School Band to the selectmen and selectwomen. Each year the town chooses a senior high school student to recite Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I had the honor of being chosen to recite the famed address for the Memorial Day festivities in 1980. It was, and is to this day, very humbling.

Memorial Day begins early in Goshen, the ceremony details are worked on throughout the year by Greg Mitchell, a lifelong Goshenite. The townspeople prepare their picnics before heading out to the parade – if they aren’t marching they stake their spot at various road side look outs along the route. The marchers line up at the Goshen Center School, proudly walk through town and end at the Goshen Cemetery where you immediately notice all the flags on the graves of veterens. The townspeople circle around a podium placed on a small knoll – and you listen to the words of the Great Emancipator. The Star Spangled Banner is played and then the highlight of the ceremony is the presentation of the Goshen Citizen of the Year award. With a bit more fanfare, music and 21 gun salute the parade marchers head back to the school and the picnics begin!

Today as I read the article by Mrs. Woven, I remember my father Bill Hageman, a lifelong Goshenite who marched every year in the Memorial Day Parade until he died in 2005. He wasn’t a veteran but he surely understood the power of community, the value of freedom and the need for human rights and equality. With no surpise to anyone, he was the lucky recipient of the Goshen Citizen of theYear award – something he treasured. Here’s to you Dad.

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend. Between the burgers and the parades – take a moment to remember how truly lucky you are to be celebrating a day that honors those responsible for our freedom.

p.s. The Goshen Memorial Day Parade is Sunday May 30th at 2pm. Grab a lawn chair, pick a spot and enjoy!

Cindy Donaldson

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2010 8:51 am

    We are really lucky to have their services for out beloved country.. Happy Celebrating Memorial Day.

  2. Matthew Hall permalink
    May 30, 2010 11:44 pm

    Cindy – Thanks for the great article full of your fond memories. I was in Goshen today for the parade and memorial service with my wife Vivian and our four teenagers. It was exactly as you describe above. A boy scout read the Gettysburg Address, and it was very humbling. Although I was born & raised in Torrington, and now live in Plainville, we truly love Goshen and its people. As for our after-parade picnic, we visited our good friend Mary Orlando at the Mary Stuart House Bed & Breakfast, just up the road from the cemetery. She always makes us feel like family. We cooked up quite a meal together and enjoyed the sunshine and blue skies!

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