Legends & Legacies View More

Missing Them at the Parade

Published: 5/27/2012

 John F. Danielewicz (Hartford Courant)John F. Danielewicz, who died April 22 at age 93, served as Honorary Parade Marshall for the New Britain (Conn.) Memorial Day Parade from 2008-2011, according to the family-prepared obit published in the Hartford Courant.

During World War II, he served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater aboard the U.S.S. Essex, "The Fightingest Ship in the Fleet," and received two Silver Stars, the obit said.

During the nearly 70 years after the war, Danielewicz remained attached to the military through his affiliations with several veterans organizations. He was a past commander of the Disabled American Veterans. He belonged to the Veterans Council and received the "Veteran of the Year Award" on December 7, 1999.

He was the recipient of the Veteran's of the Year Award from the Amber Club on September 20, 2008. Finally, on November 10, 2008, John was interviewed by Dr. Evelyn Cherpak, Head of the U.S. Naval Historical Collection at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. The purpose of the interview was to gain a detailed perspective of on John's life, along with the history aboard the U.S.S. Essex during World War II that tallied some 52 pages of written text.


Citizens of New Britain will miss Danielewicz at this year’s Memorial Day Parade, just as Americans across the country will miss many other recently deceased veterans, who never failed to honor their fallen comrades on this holiday.

These veterans include the following:

 James Patrick James Patrick "Pat" Gallagher, an Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War, served his tour of duty at Tan Son Nhut Airbase in Vietnam, according to the obituary printed in the Morning Journal of Lorain, Ohio.

A past commander of Charles Berry Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 496, Gallagher Was named the Lorain Veteran's Council "Veteran of the Year" in 2004. He was also a member of American Legion Post 30, the DAV, Vietnam Veteran's Association and the Lorain City Veteran's Council and has been the Grand Marshall of the Lorain City Memorial Day Parade for the past 3 years.

 F.J. F.J. "Bud" Kline, a carpenter by trade, enlisted in the Navy and was a part of the Seabees, a construction unit in the South Pacific, according to the obit in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Kline, who died April 23 at age 96, was a past commander of the American Legion Post 260 and was proud of his participation for 61 consecutive years in Memorial Day parades, the obit said.

 Wayne Lee Vinal (Norwich Bulletin)Wayne Lee Vinal, who died May 11 at age 74, served four years in the Air Force and 23 years in the Connecticut Army National Guard maintaining aircraft and training aircraft mechanics, according to the obit in the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin. Both stints were during peacetime.

Vinal, who was awarded the Charles Taylor Award for 50 years of service in aviation in 2011, served his community for more than 40 years on the parade committee, organizing the annual Memorial Day Parade. In 1987, he began the tradition of honoring a veteran each year on Memorial Day. In 2011, he was awarded this honor by the Town of Eastford.

 T.C. Roche Jr. (Arizona Republic)T.C. Roche Jr., who died May 13 at age 82, served in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Newport News during the Korean War, per the obit in the Arizona Republic.

For many years, Tom also served in the Naval reserves where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, the obit said. His patriotism and love of country was exemplified by the image of him standing at attention at Memorial Day parades even after it became difficult for him to stand at all.

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This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She is the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.

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