May 232014

Cmdr. Richard LaBranche, from New Boston, N.H., leaves the cockpit of an F-14D Tomcat aboard USS John C. StennisUS Navy

Richard LaBranche, from New Boston, N.H., leaves the cockpit of an F-14D Tomcat aboard USS John C. Stennis

Groton’s annual Memorial Day parade and observance steps off from Legion Common at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 26. More than a dozen floats, bands, and organizations will celebrate and honor US veterans, according to Groton Veterans’ Service Officer and Parade Adjutant Bob Johnson.

He wrote in a media release that, “The parade honors veterans of all wars, but this year’s special theme will be the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy in World War II. We invite all veterans to join us, whether in uniform or not. Veterans who wish to participate but are unable to march are asked to contact Dave Elliott at (978)448-6303 to arrange a ride in one of the vehicles in the parade.

Our Grand Marshall and primary speaker this year is US Navy Captain Richard LaBranche, Director of the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. We will be joined at the Cemetery again this year by the Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus, 12-time Northeast District champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society.”

LaBranche enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 1979, graduated from boot-camp as the Series Honor-Man. While serving in the Marine Corps he earned his Bachelors degree in 1985. He was accepted to Aviation Officers Candidate School and graduated in 1987 as an Ensign. He has more than 4500 flight hours accumulated since 1991, including service in several mid-east areas of operation, most recently from November 2011 – May 2012 flying the F/A-18C/E/F Hornet and Super Hornet in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Start Memorial Day At The Groton Grange Pancake Breakfast

Blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips, and your Groton friends and neighbors will all be at the Groton Grange’s Annual Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast on Monday, May 26, from
7:30 – 10:30 a.m., before the Memorial Day Parade.

Breakfast is served at the Groton Grange, at 80 Champney St., just steps away from the parade route. The menu includes a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and coffee or tea for $6.00 per person — all you can eat! Kids under three years old eat for free.

This Breakfast is the annual fundraiser for the Groton Grange Scholarship Fund. This year a portion of the proceeds from the breakfast will also go directly to help aid the Blood Farm Employee Assistance Fund.

Parade Route

Memorial Day Parade Route

Groton Memorial Day Parade Route

The parade leaves Legion Common and turns on to Main Street at 9 a.m. Then:

  • The parade proceeds down Main Street to stop at the Firemen’s Memorial Common for a brief ceremony.
  • Continues easterly to turn left on Hollis Street and stops in front of Legion Hall and the Old Burying Ground to honor veterans of the Revolutionary War.
  • The parade goes north on Hollis Street to the Sawyer Memorial Common for a brief ceremony to honor Korean War and Viet Nam War veterans.
  • North on Hollis Street into Groton Cemetery to conduct the “Exercise at the Mound” ceremony to honor veterans of several wars.
  • The Parade reforms and goes south on Hollis Street onto School Street, and turns left to Legion Hall.

Parking is prohibited along the parade route, but parking is available in the Sacred Heart Church parking lot, in the credit union and medical building complex on Main Street, and Florence Roche / Middle School campus.