Participants wanted for annual veterans' parade

Organizers have sent out a call for participants to join the 3th annual "Connecticut Veterans Parade." The procession will step off on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 12:30 p.m. near the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford and will march through the downtown area. The parade will take place one week before the nationwide observance of Veterans Day the following Sunday.

The Connecticut Veterans Parade is one of the biggest in the nation. This past year, more than 3,500 people marched or rode in the procession. The parade honors the dedication and sacrifices of servicemen and women from all U.S. conflicts, and offers the state's residents the opportunity to express their thanks. Special features will include a tolling of church bells and moment of silence when the parade pauses in observance of veterans who died while serving their country.

U.S. veterans are encouraged to register now to march or ride in the 2012 Connecticut Veterans Parade. Any Connecticut resident who is an active, retired or honorably discharged member of the U.S. Armed Forces including commissioned officers, warrant officers and enlisted personnel of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves is welcome to participate. Parade organizers also seek veterans groups, patriotic commissions, local municipalities, and marching bands and drill teams from colleges, high schools and middle schools, as well as pipe and drum and fife and drum corps from all over the state.

Sponsorship dollars are needed to help to pay for the operations of the parade, which is organized by a nonprofit collaboration of veterans' groups, corporations, local municipalities, businesses and civic organizations. The Connecticut National Guard assists with the management of parade logistics, and the city of Hartford hosts the event. Many of the members of the parade planning committee have been involved in the parade since its inception more than a decade ago. Sponsors can include corporations, organizations and individual residents who wish to make a contribution to the effort.

Financial contributions to support the parade can be made at or checks may be written to: Connecticut Veterans Fund, 1245 Farmington Avenue #338, West Hartford, CT, 06107

Parade organizers are seeking scores of volunteers to help with a variety of hands-on responsibilities, before and during the parade.

Connecticut 6th, 7th and 8th graders are invited to enter the parade's student essay contest about "What It Means to be a Veteran," and the top winner will ride in the 2012 parade. A 2012 Parade Grand Marshal and Honorary Grand Marshals will be announced in the coming months.