November 5, 2005
By MELISSA PIONZIO, Courant Staff Writer
After eight years in the Army and 20 years as a computer programmer
with The Travelers, it wouldn't be unreasonable for Elwood A.D.
Lechausse to embrace the extra time his retirement provides.
But the 65-year-old Enfield resident,
whose mobility has been limited by a recent stroke, says he has
no plans to hold back from aiding his fellow veterans.
"My second vocation has been benefits and health care for
veterans and people that are currently in the reserves and National
Guard and on active duty," said Lechausse, who is a member
of the board of trustees of the Connecticut Department of Veterans'
So when the Connecticut Veterans Day Parade committee asked
Lechausse to serve as the grand marshal for this year's event,
planned for Sunday in downtown Hartford, Lechausse was overjoyed.
"It is not only meaningful for the veterans but for those
in the armed forces, to realize how much we appreciate what they
do for us," said Lechausse, a former Army sergeant who served
with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam between 1958 and
The 1.26-mile parade will begin at 1 p.m. near the state Capitol
at Buckingham and Washington streets. It will travel north on
Trinity Street, pass through the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial
Arch, turn right onto Asylum Street and then right onto Main
Street, where it will pass a reviewing stand across from the
Wadsworth Atheneum. Marchers will then turn right onto Capitol
Avenue where the parade will end.
The theme for this year's
event is "Celebrate American
Valor." The parade will include two dozen marching bands,
flyovers by military aircraft and a tolling of church bells.
At 2 p.m., marchers will pause for a moment of silence.
In addition to Lechausse, three honorary grand marshals have
Tom Condon of West Hartford, an editor and columnist for The
Hartford Courant, who was a first lieutenant in Vietnam.
Sally Hitchcock Pullman of
North Granby, who was a World War II Army nurse and first lieutenant
who served in the Southwest Pacific. She is the author of the
book, "Letters Home: Memoirs
of One Army Nurse in the Southwest Pacific in World War II," a
collection of letters and commentary on her war experiences.
U.S. Rep Rob Simmons of Stonington, R-2nd District, a Vietnam
Condon said he is honored to have been chosen as a representative
for his fellow Vietnam veterans.
"I'd like to see Veterans Day more centered around citizenship," he
said, "and also celebrate the people who served in the Peace
Corps, Vista and the Teacher Corps, as well as those who coach
youth sports teams or run Scout troops."
The parade is organized by a collaboration of veterans' groups,
corporations, local municipalities, and businesses and civic
organizations, and is administered by the Greater Hartford Arts
Council. The Connecticut National Guard manages parade logistics.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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