HARRISON — The town’s annual Memorial Day parade will step off at 9 a.m. in front of the United Parish Congregational Church on Monday, May 30.
The day will be highlighted by the unveiling of the new Walk of Honor at Memorial Common in front of the library and an address by guest speaker retired U.S. Navy Lt. Commander John E. diPretero at the United Parish Congregational Church following the parade.
DiPretoro was a World War II aviator with 23 years of service in the U.S. Navy and a resident of Harrison for the past 25 years, according to Muffett Crowell, chairwoman of the Walk of Honor Committee.
Crowell said diPretoro enlisted in the Navy in 1942. He was assigned to the USS Franklin, an Essex Class carrier, in October 1944. Two months later the ship was hit by a Kamikaze. Sixty men were killed and 300 injured, he told Crowell in an earlier interview. Every aircraft on board was destroyed except for one.
He then served on the USS Hornet. He made 360 carrier landings, flew 27 types of aircraft and retired in 1963.
Crowell said the Walk of Honor pays tribute to veterans or loved ones. It is made up of bricks inscribed with their names.
“Individuals may purchase a 4- by 8-inch or 8- by 8-inch brick to honor a veteran or loved one,” she said. The bricks will be placed in the garden flag pole area at the VFW Post 9328 on Route 35. Others will be put in the Harrison Village Library Memorial Common.
The Oxford Hills Middle School band will play at the unveiling of the Walk of Honor. A second dedication is expected to take place in July.
The purchase price for bricks is $75 for the smaller size and $125 for the larger ones. For an additional $20, a military logo can be engraved on the 8- by 8-inch brick.
Crowell said the VFW Post decided to continue the introductory prices because of the economic challenges being faced by many in Maine. The laser engraving is done by Moonbeam Engraving in Levant.
Crowell said businesses may also choose to purchase a 12- by 24-inch or 12- by 12-inch granite stone that may be engraved by Arthur’s Memorials in Conway, N.H. She said the granite stones were originally cut for Arlington National Cemetery, but were not accepted because of small flaws. The stones will be part of the memorial.
For more details on buying bricks for the Walk of Honor, call Crowell at 207-809-4605.