VFW Post 1641 Commander Edward J. Roach Jr., left,  and Marcel Martineau, first vice commander of American Legion Post 24, perform the laying of the wreath. They served as marshals for Monday’s parade through Rumford and Mexico. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

Members of Napoleon Ouellette, Post 24 American Legion observed Memorial Day on Monday with a parade and ceremonies at the Rotary Memorial Green in Rumford and Veterans Memorial Green in Mexico.

Area 2 Commander Kirk Thurston was the guest speaker at the Rumford ceremony. He reflected on the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Was it worth it? That is a question often asked by family members and war buddies of our fallen heroes, he said.

“It’s not for us who survive to answer it. I think it’s for those young people to answer,” Thurston said. “And I think they do answer it with their actions, and obviously, their lives.”

Thurston said just as we should not presume to speak for the fallen, “we can make the country for which they have died a better place, one that honors their sacrifice and epitomizes the ideas enshrined in our constitution.”

He said: “We should commit ourselves to make it worth it. We should insist that America remain the land of the free, a land where patriotism trumps politics, where the American flag is displayed proudly and frequently, and where military veterans are society’s true celebrities.”

Thurston noted we must never forget the families of our fallen.

“Long after the battlefield guns have been silenced and the bombs have stopped exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent, spouses will be without their life partners, and parents will continue to grieve for their heroic sons and daughters who died way too early.”

Serving as parade marshals were VFW Post 1641 Commander Edward J. Roach Jr. and Marcel Martineau, first vice commander of American Legion Post 24. They also performed the laying of the wreath.

Elliott Richardson, a member of Brownie Troop 910, read “In Flanders Fields,” a war poem written during World War I.

Members of the Mountain Valley High School band and chorus also performed during the ceremony.

Mexico Bicentennial Committee members handed most of their 1,199 American flags to people viewing the parade in Rumford and Mexico.

Member Marilla Couch said, “This is to honor our (Mexico) veterans from World War II to now.”

Each flag had a small Mexico bicentennial sticker on one side and on the other side, the name of a Mexico veteran.

Leftover flags will be handed out during Mexico’s bicentennial parade in August.

Elliott Richardson, a member of Brownie Troop 910, reads “In Flanders Fields,” a war poem written during World War I, as veterans look on during Monday’s Memorial Day in Rumford. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

Area 2 Commander Kirk Thurston was the guest speaker at Rumford’s Memorial Day observance on Monday. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

People of all ages gathered on Memorial Bridge in Rumford for Monday’s Memorial Parade parade, held in Rumford and Mexico. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)


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