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Stamford debuts 5K Memorial Day event

May 27, 2019

STAMFORD — Monday was a perfect day for a parade, but it was just as good for a 5K.

The city’s decision to scrap the traditional Memorial Day parade this year was a topic of conversation for many who attended the city’s 5K run and ceremony on Monday. Some veterans were not pleased with the decision when it was announced, favoring the parade.

The Memorial Day ceremony had to be moved because Veterans Memorial Park on Atlantic Street is in the middle of a renovation.

For Nora Duffin, one of the runners, the event was “awesome.”

The Stamford resident and wife of a veteran, said that while some people may not have liked the decision to forgo the annual parade for the run, she thought the 5K was a success.

“Sometimes change is needed, and this is good,” said Duffin, who stayed over an hour at the park so she could witness the ceremony.

However, the vast majority of runners had already left Cummings Park, where the race started and ended, by the time the ceremony kicked off. That was largely due to the fact that the race started at 8:30 a.m., and the ceremony began at 11 a.m.

Still, organizers were happy with the turnout for the ceremony, which took place in front of the beach, with a beautiful summer day as the backdrop.

Patricia Parry, the mother of slain Navy SEAL Brian Bill, remembered her son fondly during a short speech. She spoke of the times Bill called her to tell her about teammates who had died in combat.

“In each case, Brian talked about family, his teammates family, and his own,” she said. “When a soldier, sailor, marine or airman serves, so does his family. When a soldier, sailor, marine or airman dies, his or her family suffers the tragedy.”

An emotional Stamford Mayor David Martin spoke of the sacrifices men and women in the Armed Forces have made for their country.

“What is truly special about this day is we have set it aside as the one day each year to make a point of remembering those who did not come back, who went out to defend our liberties, our way of life and made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

Martin spoke of Stamford veterans who were killed in battle.

“These sons and daughter of Stamford, these sons and daughters of America, made the ultimate sacrifice for us so that today we could go and frolic on the beach or fire up the barbecue,” he said. “They gave us the freedom to speak out as we might and the freedom to worship our creator as we choose. We owe them a great debt of gratitude and thanks.”

Parry referenced the decision to cancel the parade this year, and said organizers are trying something new.

“Lets see what next year brings. We will have Veterans Memorial Park completely renovated and we look forward to welcoming you all there next year,” she said.

ignacio.laguarda@stamfordadvocate.com

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