LIVERMORE FALLS – A caravan of cars, united by their cargo’s commitment for America and their veterans license plates, zig-zagged its way across the Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls area on Monday morning, stopping to lay wreaths, tip hats and speak about freedom, and its price.

The Memorial Day festivities began early in the day as the wispy fog slowly rolled down the Androscoggin River, followed by four balsam wreaths, released off the Livermore Falls Memorial Bridge by AMVETS, VFW, Auxiliary members and Legionnaires.

It was then onto the Livermore Veterans Memorial, where John Crowley, commander of the honor guard for the Knights of Columbus Assembly 1898, of Jay, spoke about the importance of paying respect and honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom.

After an earth-shaking 21-gun salute and a soulful rendition of “Taps” on the bugle from Livermore Falls High School student Andrew Moreau, festivities in three towns were wrapped up in under an hour.

At the Jay Hill Cemetery, Jay Baptist Church Rev. Alan Archard, head bowed, asked those gathered to pray for the armed forces, the president and for all of America and adding a sentiment of gratitude for those who died for our nation.

Wearing red shoes, a blue blazer and white pants, Jay resident Hyla Friendman, who is spending the first Memorial Day in years without her veteran, following the death earlier this year of her husband, Albert, gave a powerful get-up-and-do-something speech, urging America’s older generation to push pride and patriotism on the younger generations.

“It’s a very important day for all of us,” she said sadly. “It’s a sad day and it’s depressing, but we live on. Recently, faith in our country has been restored, but we can’t have another Pearl Harbor or September 11th. The most important thing is get more youth involved in promoting patriotism. Start on the grandchildren and teach them to have pride in America. May God bless all who have fallen.”

Members of the Jay High School marching band and the Jay Baptist Church Choir then inspired the crowd with patriotic songs.

Other activities throughout the day included a well-attended parade down Main Street in Jay with floats showcasing a plethora of community members of organizations, wreath layings in Jay, Livermore and Livermore Falls and a remembrance ceremony at the Fayette Veterans Memorial.

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