BUCKFIELD – “Again the nation gathers to honor those who rest in peace beneath the sod or the murmuring waves,” said an emotional Richard Pope, commander of the John D. Long Post 58 of the American Legion on an overcast and humid Memorial Day.
Crowds listened as the fallen were praised for their ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedom of America.
The tribute ended with Paul M. Blank saying, “We are the blue-capped legionnaires. Our journey has one aim. We are there when we are called.”
After Charles Berg offered a prayer, the group moved from the memorial in front of the library to the bridge where retired Retired Navy Chief Patrick Therrien tossed the symbolic bouquet of flowers into the Nezinscot River in memory of those sailors lost at sea.
The group reassembled at the Buckfield-Damon cemetery where they marched in formation to the eerie cadence of a subdued drum to the grave site of Elmer E. Churchill, to whom the dedication of this Memorial Day was made. Churchill served in World War II and received a bullet in his leg, according to his daughter Patricia Ouellette. His son Alan was also present.
Paul Blank said, “This is a sacred moment to commemorate the life and service of one who now marches in an army where footfalls make no sound.”
After a 12-gun salute, Lauren Gilbert offered taps which was echoed somberly from afar by Phil Meyer.
People continued to mill about the cemetery visiting with friends and family as they visited the grave sites of loved ones.
More photo coverage on page B8.