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Parades Preserve Memorial Day Traditions

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - May 20, 2013

Old timers knew it as Decoration Day, although today we call it Memorial Day. It was a day to honor those who died in service of our country. There might be a town parade or gathering but, always, families decorated the graves of veterans.

Today, Memorial Day is many things to many people. It is the time when snowbirds return to the Lakes Region from winter homes, a time when cottages are opened up, a time when children look forward to a long weekend. But first and foremost it is a time set aside to remember and honor the many men and women who served and continue to serve their country and made the greatest sacrifice.

A number of Memorial Day parades and observances will be taking place throughout the area to remember our military.

In Laconia, Memorial Day observances will take place on Monday, May 27. Parade participants will gather at Garfield Street at 9:30 a.m. Marchers will stop at the bridge on Main Street (near the Landmark Inn) for a brief memorial service for veterans who served on the water during World War II (veterans of the Navy and Merchant Marines).

Following this, the parade will continue down Main Street to Veteran’s Park, across the street from the Gale Memorial Library. At the Square, the American Legion will conduct a ceremony to remember all veterans; guns will be fired in salute.

Marching in the parade will be members of the Laconia American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Laconia Police and Fire departments, Boy Scouts, and the Laconia High School Band. (Anyone wishing to march in the parade may do so by meeting at Garfield Street at 9:30 a.m.)

After the parade, the VFW on Court Street will serve a complimentary luncheon. Those wishing further information may call the American Legion at 603-524-9728 or the VFW at 524-9725.

The village of Meredith Center will observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 27, with a service at the Oakland Cemetery at 8 a.m., led by Rev. Robert Lemieux. At 9 a.m., there will be services at Meredith Village Cemetery led by Father Dennis Audet.

After observances in Meredith Center, a parade in downtown Meredith commemorates all war veterans. Marching will be Legionnaires, war veterans, the Meredith Fire Department, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and others.

The parade gathers at the American Legion Post 33 on Plymouth Street at 9:30 a.m. and proceeds to the Meredith Library on Main Street. At this spot, there will be services at the War Memorial.

The parade will continue to the Swazey Cemetery on Lang Street, a short distance from the library, with services led by Post 33 Chaplain Henry Hall. At that point, the parade proceeds to the Hesky Park Bandstand with services featuring Rev. Russell Rowland. The parade will stop at the MIA/POW Flagpole where Bob Jones will conduct a service.

After the parade, there will be snacks at the American Legion Post on Plymouth Street in Meredith.

The village of Sandwich will feature a Memorial Day Remembrance Program on Monday, May 27.  Beginning at 8 a.m., breakfast will be served at the Craft Building on the Sandwich Fairgrounds; military (active/reserves/guard/retired) are invited to have breakfast for free. At 10:30 a.m., a Remembrance Program will begin at the Honor Roll next to the Post Office. For more information, call Chief Doug Wyman at 284-7139 or Jennifer Wright at 998-9460.

The town of Gilford will observe the Memorial Day holiday with a parade and commemoration honoring all United States veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. The observance will be on Monday, May 27, with the parade forming at the Gilford Community Church parking lot at 9:15 a.m.  The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and proceed along Potter Hill Road for observances at the World War I and II Veterans’ Memorial and then onto Belknap Mountain Road for observances at Pine Grove Cemetery. The town invites all attendees to gather at the Veterans’ Memorial and follow the parade to the Pine Grove Cemetery.

The Gilford Memorial Day Committee invites all veterans to participate in the parade by gathering at the Gilford Community Church parking lot and marching as a group. An antique fire truck will be available so that disabled veterans will be able to participate and ride along the parade route. Disabled veterans requiring rides are urged to contact Sandy Bailey at Gilford Town Hall at 527-4700 to make known their need. Gold or Blue Star Mothers and spouses of veterans are also invited to gather at the assembly point and be with their group during the observances.

Alton will hold Memorial Day services on Monday, May 27, with marchers gathering downtown at Monument Square at 9:30 a.m. to line up in the order of marching.

There will be an Invocation, and the parade will start at 10 a.m. and go to Riverside Cemetery for brief remarks and a playing of taps. The procession returns to Monument Square to conclude the ceremony. There will be a placing of wreaths on the war memorials, as well as readings and music from the Prospect Mountain High School Band.

Plymouth will hold its annual Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 27, at 10:30 a.m. The parade forms at 10 a.m. at the NH National Guard Armory on North Main Street in Plymouth. Marchers will walk to Main Street in downtown Plymouth. At the Plymouth Town Hall, there will be a ceremony to commemorate war veterans.

The Newfound Region will celebrate Memorial Day with a traditional parade in Bristol on Monday, May 27. According to Commander Ron Preble, due to construction work in downtown Bristol, the parade route will take a different course this year. The parade gathers 9:30 a.m. at the Freudenberg-NOK parking lot on Route 104 and proceeds to nearby Homeland Cemetery for the laying of a wreath and a brief ceremony. The parade then proceeds to the outside area at Newfound Memorial Middle School on North Main Street for further services. In case of rain, all services will be inside the middle school.

Wolfeboro honors its veterans on Monday, May 27. According to American Legion Post 18 Parade Marshal Harold A. Chamberlin, all veterans’ graves in Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro will be decorated to honor those who served their country.

Wolfeboro events begin with a parade that forms at 9:30 a.m. in Brewster Field (next to the Congregational Church). The parade begins at 10 a.m., proceeding to several locations for flag ceremonies: first to Pickering’s Corner at Brewster Field, then to Carpenter School on Main Street, and then to the Wolfeboro Post Office. The flags will be lowered to half-staff, then the Ladies’ Auxiliary will decorate the monument and there will be a rifle salute at each location.

From the post office, the parade heads dockside for a flag-lowering ceremony. From there, activities move to the gazebo where Senator Jeb Bradley will be the featured speaker.

Call Harold Chamberlin at 569-4296 for information. In case of rain, there will be a service at the Wright Museum on Center St. in Wolfeboro Falls. 

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