By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Marshal Emery Linton Sr. steered West Haven’s Memorial Day parade Monday morning from a golf cart driven by city Human Resources Commissioner Beth A. Sabo.
Linton, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War in 1970-72, led the 40-unit procession of veterans, bands and dignitaries, including Mayor Nancy R. Rossi and other city officials, along Campbell Avenue.
The parade stepped from Captain Thomas Boulevard north to Center Street, where a sea of people lined the 1.5-mile route, American flags waving, for the annual patriotic march.
Linton, 73, was tapped by the West Haven Veterans Council, which helps the city organize the parade, for his years of service to the military, his fellow vets and his community.
The 90-minute parade commenced with a dramatic flyover by a C-130 Hercules, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft operated by the Connecticut Air National Guard.
The event, in memory of the deceased members of the U.S. armed forces of all wars, is the oldest parade of its kind in southern Connecticut.
In addition to veterans groups and marching bands, anchored by the New Haven County Firefighters Emerald Society Pipes & Drums, the procession featured the traditional contingent of youth organizations and sports leagues, dance and Scout troupes, fraternal organizations and service clubs, local and state leaders, police officers and firefighters.
It included cheerleaders from the West Haven Seahawks and a fleet of Jeeps from the Connecticut Beach Cruisers.
The procession also showcased musicians from West Haven’s Rock House School of Music performing on a trio of floats made possible by Anthony Augliera Moving & Storage of East Haven and Bruneau’s Garage of West Haven.
Guitarist John McCarthy, who owns Rock House, performed on one of the floats with acclaimed theater and film actor Connor Antico and Paul Pesco, a renowned New York session guitarist who has recorded and toured with Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Hall & Oates and Madonna.
Antico, 27, of Stamford, is starring in the fall debut of the John Mellencamp musical, “Small Town,” in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also releasing an extended play record, “Make Something Beautiful,” produced by Pesco.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held after the parade at the World War I Armistice Memorial on the Green.
Also after the parade, McCarthy jammed with Pesco, Antico and other notable musicians at an all-star tribute concert celebrating John Ziada, the late West Haven restaurateur and community volunteer affectionately known as Johnny Z.
The hour-plus show, attended by concertgoers of all ages, took place in the middle of Campbell Avenue in front of Z’s Corner Cafe, Ziada’s live music mecca.