Sunny Memorial Festivities in Marion

Two well-organized Memorial Day services and a parade were attended by hundreds of residents and guests on Monday in Marion. The first ceremony was held at the Civil War monument on the grounds of the Marion Music Hall. A second ceremony was held at the Old Landing Park, home to monuments commemorating Marion residents who lost their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Another ceremony was held at Old Landing Cemetery, where wreaths and flowers were placed on the grave of Benjamin D. Cushing, founder of the VFW Post in Marion.

A flag-raising ceremony started things off with a flag that was hoisted to the top of the pole and then lowered to half mast. Doug Thackery in fatigues and Bob Nissen in uniform handled the flag raising at the Marion Music Hall.

The 182 students in the Sippican School Band played the National Anthem, with many people humming or singing along. Mikayla Florio, a former ORR student now attending UMass-Dartmouth, sang “God Bless America.” Ian McClellan read the Gettysburg Address. John Robarge, from the Cushing VFW, read Logan’s Address, which established Memorial Day as a day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.

The VFW ritual followed with wreath laying, prayers and thanksgiving for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Rodney Hunt read the names of those veterans who passed away during the past year. Those included William Filkins, Edison Love, Peter Monteiro Jr., Malcolm Nason, Peter Rezendes Jr., David Rose, Richard Simcock, and Charles Streeter. A firing squad shot three times, followed by the playing of taps and moments of silence and reflection by the crowd.

Marion Cub and Boy scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance and recited the Boy Scout Creed. Buglers Jack Gomez and Mario Borges played taps during the ceremony on the Marion Music Hall grounds.

The crowd heard several patriotic songs played by the Portuguese American Band, under the direction of Dan Ferreira. The Sippican School Band followed with a version of “Grand Old Flag,” by George M. Cohen, while marching on the way over to the Town Hall.

At the judges’ stand, the Marion Board of Selectmen spoke to the crowd. Chairman Jody Dickerson read a heartfelt message regarding how some members of our society don’t take the time to think about the sacrifices of those in the military and those who lost their lives while fighting for our freedom. Dickerson thanked the crowd for coming out and attending the service.

John Henry spoke and talked briefly about his many years of service in the military and how “gung-ho” he was after basic training. Henry said that his feelings have mellowed over time and stressed how important it is to respect and support military families and those with post-traumatic stress issues.

Parade chair, Rodney Hunt, was the master of ceremonies, and each segment of the ceremony transitioned smoothly. The Girl Scouts and Brownies recited their pledge, and Mikayla Mattson read “Flanders Field.” Raquel MacFarlane played a medley of patriotic songs on her bagpipes, while walking the traditional line across the judging area and back to her original place, next to the Color Guard.

Hunt thanked all of those involved in the parade and ceremony, including the Marion Police Department, Fire and EMS Departments, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Board of Selectmen, members of the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary, Hanna Moore and the Sippican School Band and the Portuguese American Band. Lastly, Hunt thanked the three Washburn brothers, Bud, Bill, and Bob for their valuable time and service in setting up the public address system for the ceremonies.

“It was awesome to be in the parade,” said Mia Hemphill, a Brownie Scout.

“It was fun to go up on the stage and say our pledge,” Nellie Zygiel said.

“I liked being with my friends and seeing all of the people,” said Charlotte Gordon. The girls gathered under a tree at Old Landing Park with their parents.

Bud Washburn said that the Washburn family has been handling the public address system for the parade for over 55 years. “My dad started doing it when I was in Cub Scouts,” Bud said.

“In the old days, we only had one system, so we had to take it down from Town Hall and then rush to Old Landing to set it up,” said Bob Washburn. “We had a couple of Murphy’s Law moments.

“We finally agreed that we needed two systems,” Bill Washburn said, “and here we are.”

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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