By Beth David, Editor
“If it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t be us,” said keynote speaker of the Fairhaven Memorial Day ceremony Deven Robitaille, Commander Thomas E. Tuttle VFW Post #7239, Acushnet, speaking of those who serve in the military.
She told the crowd that she loved to see so many families there and hoped they were learning life lessons remembering those who went above and beyond to serve. It was a celebration, she said, but a “somber celebration” remembering those who died in service to the nation.
We should embrace the legacy of those who stood up for us.
Remember they are not just a number, or a set of dog tags, or a gravestone. They are people, “just like us.”
Do not let their valor go unrecognized, she said. Talk to veterans, remember their names, tell their stories.
She said we are all Americans, despite our differences, including race or sexual orientation.
Go home and hug your families, she said, and hug a veteran.
Mr. Brownell closed out the ceremony asking people to remember how our country began: by a rag tag group of farmers everyday workers taking on the biggest army in the world, and winning.
He said we “can’t help but feel compassion” for those people fighting for democracy and freedom now.
Fairhaven held a parade that marched along Main Street from Union to Riverside Cemetery, where the ceremony was held. The parade stopped at the high school for the raising of the 30×50” flag.
People of all ages lined the route waving flags, clapping and showing support for the veterans and other groups that marched.
At the cemetery, Vietnam Veteran George Brownell served as emcee; Select Board Chairperson Stasia Powers read General Logan’s Orders, which established Memorial Day in 1868 after the Civil War, first known as “Decoration Day”; reading of the governor’s proclamation by Veterans agent Brad Fish; the reading of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address by the Fairhaven High School senior class president Layla Almeida; taps and opening and closing prayers by Reb. Bette McClure; music by the FHS band.
Select Board Chairperson Stasia Powers said it was an honor and a privilege to read General Logan’s Orders.
“And I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent the community,” she said. “I’m happy to see so many people came out to see [the parade], so it was nice to see that.”
Fairhaven’s new Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison joined the parade and ceremony for the first time.
“I’m excited,” she said. “It’s a wonderful show of support for veterans and all that served, and the community turnout demonstrates that as well.”
This was the first time since 2019 that Fairhaven held a parade and ceremony with the public invited, due to the pandemic. The last two years, the town held a virtual ceremony that is available online.
Fairhaven has held an annual exercise since the very first “Decoration Day” in 1868.
Click here to download the entire 6/2/22 issue: 06-02-22 MemDayParade
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