Lakes Region Memorial Day Observances
By Kathi Caldwell-Hopper
Memorial Day means different things to different people: at this time of year snowbirds return and open up their summer homes, children appreciate a long weekend when the weather is warm, gardeners begin to plan for the summer season, and many yearning to be near the water travel to the Lakes Region. But most of all, it is a time when observances honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and made possible the many pastimes and freedoms we enjoy today.
Historically, Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day.
It has always been a time to honor and remember the fallen who served our country, whether 100 or more years ago or today, or at any time in the history of the United States.
A number of Memorial Day observances are taking place around the area, including the events listed here.
Memorial Day observances in Laconia will take place on Monday, May 27. Parade participants will gather at Garfield Street at 9:30 am. Marchers will stop at the bridge on Main Street (near the Landmark Inn) for a brief memorial service for those veterans who served on the water during World War II (veterans of the Navy and Merchant Marines). Following this, the parade will commence 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; 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, 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 am.) After the parade, the VFW Post #1670, located at 143 Court Street, will serve a complimentary luncheon. Those wishing further information should call 603-832-6345.
The village of Meredith Center will observe Memorial Day on May 27, with a service at Oakland Cemetery at 8 am, followed by a 9 am service at Meredith Village Cemetery.
In Meredith, a parade in the downtown will gather at the American Legion Post #33 on Plymouth Street at 9:30 am. The parade proceeds to the Meredith Library on Main Street, where a service will be conducted at the War Memorial. The parade then proceeds to Swazey Cemetery on Lang Street, a short distance from the library. After this, the parade proceeds to the Hesky Park Bandstand’s POW/MIA Flagpole, where Bob Jones and Jeanie Forrester will speak. After the parade, there will be snacks at the American Legion Post #33 on Plymouth Street.
Gilford observances will be held on Monday, May 27 with parade participants gathering in the parking lot of the Gilford Community Church on Potter Hill Road at 9:45 am. The parade will proceed to the WWI/WWII Memorial and Pine Grove Cemetery, where Rev. Michael Graham will lead a prayer; there will be a Pledge of Allegiance and wreath laying. All veterans are invited to participate in the parade; an antique firetruck will be available so that disabled veterans requiring rides can be in the parade. Please call the Gilford Town Hall at 603-527-4700 to make needs known.
Wolfeboro’s observance will be on Monday, May 27. According to American Legion Post #18 Parade Marshal Harold A. Chamberlin, all veteran’s graves in Wolfeboro and Tuftonboro will be decorated. The annual Wolfeboro parade forms at 9:30 am in Brewster Field (next to the Congregational Church). The parade begins at 10 am, 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, and a ceremony will take place. The parade will then head to the downtown dockside location for a service with speaker state Rep. John MacDonald. For information on the parade, call Harold Chamberlin at 603-569-4296. In the event of rain, the program will be held in the Wright Museum.
In Alton, a May 27 Memorial Day observance with parade participants gathering at 9:30 am at Monument Square to line up in the order of marching. There will be an invocation and then the parade will start at 10 am and proceed to Riverside Cemetery for brief remarks and a playing of Taps. The parade then returns to Monument Square to conclude with a placing of wreaths on the war memorials, as well as a reading and music. There also will be rifle volleys and taps.
Center Harbor’s observance will be held on May 27, with parade participants gathering at 11:45 at Chase Circle. The parade steps off at noon, proceeding to Nichols Memorial Library where the Star Spangled Banner will be played by the Inter-Lakes Marching Band and with Eliza Beaudoin singing the National Anthem and Boy Scout Sage Kim reading “In Flanders Field”; there will also be a prayer and gun salute and laying of wreath at the War Memorial monument. Following this, at the town docks, there will be music by the Inter-Lakes Marching Band, a gun salute, Echo Taps played and a wreath toss to the water. The final stop will be at the Lakeview Cemetery across from the Congregational Church for services with playing of “Washington Post March”, Eco Taps, a 21-gun salute and laying of a wreath. Rev. Fred Doscher will deliver the message. Marching will be Meredith Legionnaires, I-L Marching Band, Boy Scouts, Center Harbor Fire Department honor guard and guests. The Town of Center Harbor invites interested veterans, Scouts and civic organizations to participate. Please call the Parks & Recreation Department at 455-1632 with any questions.
Moultonborough’s Memorial Day event starts at 10 am on May 27. Parade participants will gather at Blake Road near the Central School, and then process along Route 25 to the town hall. Presentation of wreaths will take place at Blake Road, The Historical Society, and the Public Library. Castle in the Clouds provides a trolley to carry veterans along the parade route. There will be a ceremony at the town hall to honor veterans. In the event of rain, the parade will start at the town hall and work in reverse, with the ceremony being held indoors at the Moultonborough Academy auditorium.
The village of Sandwich will feature a Memorial Day Remembrance Program on Monday, May 27. At 10 am, the program will begin at the Honor Roll next to the Post Office. For information, call Chief Doug Wyman at 603-284-7139 or Jennifer Wright at 603-284-7701.
Bristol’s observances will be held on May 27 and will step off at 9:30 am at the Freudenberg-NOK parking lot on Route 104 and proceed to Homeland Cemetery for prayers, wreath laying, rifle salute and Taps. Participants then go to the Musgrove Bridge on Pleasant Street to place a wreath in the water for servicemen who lost their lives at sea. The parade will proceed up Lake Street to the Newfound Middle School and end with a ceremony there. There will be speeches, wreath laying, National Anthem and selections played by the school band. A bus will take participants back to the Freudenberg-Nok parking lot at the conclusion of the ceremonies. If the weather does not cooperate, a ceremony will be held in the Middle School gymnasium.
On Monday, May 27, the V.F.W. Memorial Day Service will take place in Ossipee on the lawn in front of the town hall at 10 am. In the event of bad weather, the ceremony will be held inside the town hall.