REGION — While Memorial Day weekend is traditionally considered the start of summer and looked forward to, for many it will be somber this year as parades, services and other large gatherings won’t be happening.

Last week, Governor Janet Mills extended the Stay at Home order through May 31 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While some non-essential businesses have been permitted to open this week, social distancing is still in place and only gatherings of less than 10 people allowed.

In many towns, services and parades have been canceled. In others, private ceremonies will take place with one being live streamed on Facebook.

Charles Tappan, organizer of the Wilton Memorial Day service, said nothing will be done this year.

Last year people gathered at the Lions Hall, formerly the American Legion Post, for speeches, prayers and the laying of a wreath followed by Taps. Refreshments were served afterwards.

“Discretion is the better part of valor,” he said by phone Tuesday, May 5.

Earlier Tuesday Sean Minear said in an email, “We will NOT be holding our traditional Memorial Day service here in Weld this May.”

For decades, a parade has made its way from the Weld town hall to the library where speeches were given, a wreath placed at the monuments, patriotic songs played and the American flag lowered to half mast. Hundreds of residents and summer visitors would sit across the road to watch and listen, especially to the church bell ringing as participants made their way back to the town hall.

Tuesday night by phone Matthew Smith, Commander of Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28 in Farmington, said there would be no service at the post this year.

“There won’t be a parade,” he said. “We will do the wreath laying at the World War I Memorial Arch at 10 a.m., then stop to lay wreaths at Meeting House Park, behind the courthouse (Center Burying Grounds) and at the post.”

Smith said the only participants would be the color guard and wreath layers.

In Kingfield, Norton-Wuori American Legion Post 61 Commander Johnny Maynard said their ceremony would be held without any spectators.

“I’m a professional sports fan,” he said Wednesday. “They’re playing to empty arenas. Why can’t we do something similar?

“It’s going to be very different. The plan is to broadcast it on Facebook live through the post’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/KingfieldLegion/.

“We’ll be following all the guidelines,” Maynard added. “Only 10 people on site, practicing social distancing.”

Maynard said afterwards the ceremony would be shared on the Kingfield Community Forum page so those who don’t follow the American Legion can see it.

In Phillips, the Memorial Day horse pull and parade have been canceled.

Prescott-Fairbanks American Legion Post 64 Commander Larry Pinkham said flags would be put up on the telephone poles and on veterans’ gravestones.

Charles Snell in Strong said nothing is being planned this year.

 

 


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