Several generations participated in Marion’s Memorial Day ceremonies on May 31 at Old Landing, where those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were honored by young and old.
Major Andrew Bonney of the United States Air Force acted as master of ceremonies and chaired Marion’s Memorial Day Committee including Jody Dickerson, Donna Hemphill, and Hannah Moore, who also directed the Sippican Elementary School Marching Band, and the size of the community gathering far outshined Monday morning’s gloomy weather.
Select Board Chairman Norman Hills addressed the attendees on behalf of the board and together with fellow board member Randy Parker laid a wreath at the memorial.
As keynote speaker, Acushnet resident Dr. Steven L. Pierce told of a most personal Memorial Day experience, only a small child standing by his mother’s side when the fateful knock came to the family’s front door with the devastating news that his father’s helicopter was shot down in Vietnam.
What Pierce did with his life as a result of that event came into sharper focus, his career outline having been read as an introduction to his words.
Currently assistant to the Dean for Technology and Innovation in the College of Distance Education at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Pierce has been on the Naval War College faculty since retiring from active duty in the U.S. Navy in 2006. Pierce enlisted in the Navy in 1982 and performed duties as an avionics technician and naval aircrewman, specializing in airborne reconnaissance and signals intelligence collection. He holds a doctorate in management from Colorado Technical University and two master’s degrees.
The participation that led up to Pierce’s discussion about Memorial Day included music from the Portuguese American Band and the Sippican Elementary School Band.
Old Rochester Regional High School junior Breigh Christopher, 17, of Marion sang “God Bless America,” and student speakers included ORR junior Edward Gonet IV of Fairhaven reading “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln, ORR freshman Molly Dupre of Mattapoisett reading a Memorial Day Proclamation from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and Tabor Academy junior Catherine Terelak of Gloucester reciting “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.
“The Pledge of Allegiance” was led by the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Brownies of Marion.
Bonney conducted the tolling of the bell after reading the list of Marion veterans who died since the last Memorial Day: John H. McCain II; Robert J. Zora; Joseph E. Singleton; Roger H. Hatch; Edward Maguire; Stephen J. Moran; John V. Spivey; Albert R. Hunt; Alan D. Wehr; Francis W. Bessey; James Goddu; Arthur Seifert; Theodore E. Kirchner; Theodore Mach, Jr.; Cornelius H. Cooper; William A. Sobieraj; Roland Leo Dastous; Michael Reed; Joseph S. Gumlak; and Robert Ellis.
The Portuguese American Band, led by Dan Ferreira, played “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Taps,” and Father Eric Fialho of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church gave the invocation and benediction.
A cannon salute was provided by the sailing vessel Hotspur captained by Ron Wisner.
By Mick Colageo