The Rev. Frank E. Wismer III, a vicar at Christ Episcopal Church in East Norwalk may seem like an unlikely war veteran. But after serving multiple stints as a chaplain in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of colonel, Wismer is the perfect candidate to speak about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in war. An expert on the wars in the Middle East and a veteran of the conflicts there, Wismer will speak after the annual Memorial Day Parade.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. After moving along Post Road, past the library it will turn onto Old Post Road and eventually continue beyond South Benson Road to disband. The service and speech by Wismer will be held following the parade at the town green on Old Post Road.
Officials are expecting close to 120 different groups of marchers, who will be divided into three divisions. Marchers include town officials, members of the military and veterans of the armed forces, local law enforcement and firefighters, as well as members of schools and other town groups.
Townspeople have been reserving spots along the parade route since last Monday.
Wismer will talk about the importance for those on the battlefield to have faith. After returning from time spent serving in Baghdad as part of Operation-Iraqi Freedom, he wrote a book on his experiences, "War in the Garden of Eden", which explains the horrors of war, plus the emotions involved and how faith helps soldiers make it through the battles.
Overall, Wismer has served 25 years in the military prior to his 2005 retirement. He served in Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia) and most recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad. While in Baghdad, Wismer led masses at the Presidential Palace, one of the former homes of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. He began a small congregation there, with members from not only the American service forces, but also Iraqis, British, Koreans and South Africans. Proceeds from the sale of his book go to benefit that congregation, known as St. George's Anglican Church. He has earned multiple medals, including the Combat Action Badge, the Bronze Star medal and the Legion of Merit medal. He is currently the chaplain at American Legion Post 12 of Norwalk.
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