JAY — The theme of this year’s Memorial Day Parade in the tri-town area is “Thank You to our Vietnam War Veterans.”
This year’s parade will start at 10 a.m. Monday, May 30, at Memco on Main Street in Jay and travel down to the Geneva Hodgkins Memorial Park in Livermore Falls. Lineup for the parade is at 9 a.m.
“The Department of Defense has announced the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program this year,” Don Simoneau, chairman of the Memorial Day Committee, said.
According to a quote from the “Welcome to the Vietnam War Commemoration” site, “The Vietnam War marked a difficult and tumultuous time in our history. Many returning service members didn’t receive the honorable and appreciative “welcome home” they deserved. Now is the time to recognize and remember their service, honor, and sacrifice.”
In keeping with that program, the local “Memorial Day Committee has called on all of us to gather and thank those who served in the Vietnam War that seems so long ago in time but so close in our memories,” Simoneau said.
Charlie Crafts, a former prisoner of the Vietnam War, and his wife are going to be parade marshals this year, he said. Crafts received several medals for his valor with the U.S. Army during the war, he said.
“With the theme of using the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, we are honored that Charlie has accepted our invitation to be our parade marshal,” Simoneau said.
The Memorial Day Committee will hold a new service at the end of the parade this year called the Fallen Hero’s Salute at the park, he said.
They would like to have nine Vietnam veterans contact Simoneau at [email protected] to participate in the short program to “remember the sacrifice given by those who served, those who did not return and those they left behind,” he said.
Pratt and Sons Inc. contractors doing the reconstruction of Main Street, also known as Route 4, has assured the committee that the street will be fine for the parade.
Committee members are looking for parade participants. Those who are interested should contact Diane Getz as soon as possible at 320-0103 so they can be put in the lineup.
Simoneau said the committee is hoping that Vietnam veterans will also join in the parade or stop at the war memorials along the way.
They’re also hoping organizations, individuals and groups will participate to show their patriotism.
The committee is meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the American Legion Hall on Reynolds Avenue in Livermore Falls.
“All in the area who would like to attend are invited,” Simoneau said.