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Westport's Coley: 'We Have to Honor Our Heroes'

WESTPORT, Conn. – Nancy Coley of Westport prepares this year’s Memorial Day Parade float by sawing PVC piping, cutting wood, hammering nails and remembering those who sacrificed themselves for this country.

“I’m on my 13th float, and I helped for a few years before that, too,” said Coley, senior vice president of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399.

This year’s theme is “Our Heroes - Past and Present.”  The Ladies Auxiliary float will be honoring those from Connecticut who served in the Iraq-Afghanistan War from 2001 until now.

“We’ve always felt that we have to honor our heroes,” said Coley.

The grand marshal is Alphonse “Buck” Iannacone, who was injured during World War II. Iannacone served on the board of trustees of the Westport Police Athletic League, where he has been a member for more than 60 years. As a postal worker, he served as president of the Postal Union local before retiring in 1970. He is a member of the Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 VFW.

“He’s got the Purple Heart and the Bronze Battle Star, and he came home and stayed very active in the town,” said William Vornkahl, president of the Westport Veterans Council.  “He will be right up front with the Police Department in a red 1950s Cadillac convertible.”

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, starting on Riverside Avenue and ending in Parker-Harding Plaza. After the parade, memorial services will be held on Veterans Green.

The Park City Pride Drum and Bugle Corps of Bridgeport will lead the parade in its first appearance in Westport for a parade.

“We wanted to start it off with a bang,” said Vornkahl. “It’s important to honor the veterans killed in service and those that have departed us since they’ve come home. If they weren’t fighting for us, we wouldn’t have a country that’s free.”

If bad weather occurs, check for updates on the Department of Parks and Recreation cancellation line at 203-341-5074 or on its website at . Announcements will also be made on WICC beginning at 6 a.m.

If the parade is canceled, memorial services will be held in the Westport Town Hall auditorium starting at 10 a.m.

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