By Beth David, Editor
Fairhaven held its 11th annual Veterans Day parade on Friday, 11/11. The parade started at Benoit Square, and traveled along Main Street to Fairhaven High School for the raising of the big flag and a short ceremony. A plane also buzzed the high school twice as part of a planned flyover.
Hundreds of people lined the route waving flags and cheering on the veterans who marched.
Along the route, Kevin and Samantha Cormier said they were at the parade because their father was in the US Navy. They watched with their friend Tyler Vasconcelos, hoping to see big trucks, and to snag some candy that is inevitably thrown out along the route.
“I just like seeing all the trucks, the flags and the people,” said Samantha.
Rita McLeod, 92, watched from a porch on Main Street. She said she was looking forward to seeing her great grandchildren who were marching with the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts.
At the high school, Fairhaven Selectbard chairperson Charles Murphy recalled his father’s service on a minesweeper in WWII.
He said whenever he thinks he has stress in his life, he tries to remember that it “can’t compare” to military service members.
He said people should say “thank you” to veterans.
“We are the home of the free because of all our veterans’ bravery,” said Mr. Murphy.
Keynote speaker Gerald Stabell, US Army, told the crowd that it was important to gather every year to give “heartfelt thanks” to those who served and are still serving.
He said veterans, with “steadfast resolve stand and fight for the American way of life.”
Mr. Stabell also said it was important to “never forget the sacrifice of them and their families.”
He said service members are the “best the country has to offer.”
After the ceremony, Parade Marshall Manuel Leite, 95, said he was a Marine in the Second Marine Division and served as a machine gunner in World War II in the Marshall Islands, in the South Pacific.
“Think of your family first, and don’t forget your country,” said Mr. Leite. “We’re always behind you since you were born.”
After the war, Mr. Leite worked as a sewing machine repair person at mill that made bedspreads.
“I think it’s wonderful,” that he was parade marshall, said Mr. Leite’s companion, Terry Patistea. “He deserves it. He is a wonderful man.”
The ceremony also included the firing of the small cannon and a 21 gun salute by the Fairhaven Village Militia; taps by two high school band members, one from Fairhaven High and one from Apponequet; a moment of silence for fallen comrades; an invocation by the Rev. Ellie Reed; Amazing Grace played by William Bullard on the bagpipes; and Lori Gomes and Chris Gazelle Arsenault singing Amazing Grace. Donald Leblanc was Emcee, George Brownell called the assembly to attention.
Please download the entire issue for more photos of the Veterans Day parade. Click here to download the entire 11/17/16 issue: 11-17-16-vetsparade