Bristol hosts Scouts parade honoring vets from around the state
BRISTOL — Hundreds of people lined the streets of Bristol Saturday morning as the town played host to the 16th annual Scouting Salute to Veterans parade.
Billed as one of the largest parades in Vermont, the event is put on by the American Legion and Green Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America to honor those who have served in the military, law enforcement and first-response organizations. Each year the parade is held in a different Vermont town.
Alan Smith, adjutant of American Legion Post No. 19 in Bristol, called the parade a huge success.
“It went fabulous,” he said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
The 900 marchers hailed from the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and all branches of the armed services, Smith said.
On an unseasonably cold fall morning, the parade kicked off at 11 a.m. and wound through downtown Bristol before culminating in a ceremony on the town green and address by Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, the adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard.
Other participants included the 40th Army Band, Mount Abraham Union High School band, Hannaford’s Fife and Drum Corps, Shriners, Knights of Columbus, Vermont State Police Honor Guard with antique cruiser, Bristol police and rescue squad vehicles and personnel, the Addison County Firefighters Association Honor Guard and delegations from various fire departments, including Bristol, New Haven, Lincoln, Starksboro, Middlebury, Vergennes and Rutland.
The grand marshal was Bruce Emmons, a Bristol veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Smith thanked all the local residents who helped the Legion plan the event, beginning this past February.
“It takes a lot of work,” Smith said. “But it’s an honor.”
Smith said he was especially appreciative that his hometown got to host the parade.
“You take a lot of pride in it,” he said, adding that it was also a boon to the local economy.
Smith said spectator turnout was high, though it would have been higher had the parade not coincided with several high school state playoff and championship games.
Though the parade is held just before Election Day each year, it is an apolitical event. Organizers ask politicians not to participate, to ensure that veterans remain the focus of festivities.
Next year, Smith said the event will most likely be in Ludlow.
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