It was a cold and windy early-summer morning in Marion on Monday, May 28, as crowds of onlookers came to pay their respects and observe the annual parade this Memorial Day. Gathering outside of the Marion Music Hall located on Front Street, flocks of locals and parade-walkers came together in remembrance of America’s fallen heroes.
The Sippican School Band kicked off the proceedings just shy of 9:00 am, executing a handful of songs with dexterity and ease. Much to the delight of the crowd, the elementary school students dazzled all in attendance with their impressive renditions.
Shortly thereafter, Captain Andrew Bonney of the Massachusetts Air National Guard gave his introduction as master of ceremonies. After giving a short speech and thanking all for coming out on a crisp, cloudy Memorial Day morning, Captain Bonney handed the microphone over to a number of speakers and performers preceding the march down Front Street.
Reverend MaryAnn Purtill of the First Congregational Church of Marion was the first to speak, giving kind words for our fallen soldiers and reminding us to “…Accept the gift of their sacrifice with humble hearts.” Following her brief monologue was RMS student Brianna Lynch singing “God Bless America,” ORR senior Jack Roussell reciting “The Gettysburg Address,” ORR Junior High School student Haley Cohen reading a proclamation from Governor Charlie Baker, and the Portuguese American Band performing “America the Beautiful.”
Soon after the pleasant and concise performances, Captain Bonney declared, “Parade marchers, please fall in,” commencing Marion’s Memorial Day Parade march.
After solemnly, yet proudly walking the 0.6 mile walk up Front Street to the Veteran’s Memorial at Old Landing, marchers, families, and friends filed in as the keynote speaker of the morning, Lt. Col. Jeremy W. Beaven, a Bronze Star recipient, prepared to give his address.
Lt. Col. Beaven gave an immensely heartfelt speech. He acknowledged that we all live busy, bustling lives, but reminded the audience how paramount it is to take a moment of reflection and gratitude for those who gave their lives in order to protect our freedom.
“It’s important we pause and think about those ideals and sacrifices,” Beaven said.
While it would have been exceedingly easy to recite a somewhat glum monologue given today’s political climate, Beaven held an upbeat and hopeful tone throughout.
“I encourage you to pursue more than just the nine to five, the money that you make to put food on the table,” he said. “I encourage you to pursue those things that you’re passionate about, that bring you joy, that bring a smile to your face.”
Beaven’s speech was an uplifting breath of fresh air, a buoyant prompting that we should be thankful for the lives that we’re allowed to live because of those heroes who protect our country day in and day out.
Following Beaven’s speech, master of ceremonies Captain Bonney announced the closing rituals. Three Marion selectmen placed a wreath adjacent to the Veteran’s Memorial, concluding the annual event.
On an overcast and chilly Memorial Day morning, local families and veterans were able to congregate and collectively pay their respects to our fallen soldiers, finding a little bit of sunshine and solace on a rather doleful day.
By Caleb Jagoda