Memorial Day ceremonies in the Boothbay region

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 9:00am

    Pastor Greg Foster of United Methodist Church, speaking at the first 2024 Memorial Day ceremony at Newagen, set the tone for the various messages on Memorial Day 2024 by quoting part of a speech on freedom by Ronald Reagan:

    “Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

    Since 2020, Deacon Bob Curtis has spoken at Whale Park on Memorial Day from two distinct perspectives: war and peace. He is currently a Catholic church deacon. In 1967, he was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. Curtis told the crowd over one million combat veterans died in battle serving the country to preserve our rights and freedoms. Another million plus were wounded in battle. Curtis is one of those wounded vets. “I’m 100% disabled through the VA from agent orange. I have cancer and I’m dying,” he said. “And I would do it all over again.”

    He was proud to serve in the military protecting Americans’ rights and freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Curtis also reminded citizens to hold on to their political and religious views, but also remember “We’re all Americans first.”

    He thanked the assembled parade audience for welcoming back the Vietnam War veterans. He also encouraged all veterans to participate in the Honor Flight. “It will change your life,” he said. Curtis also encouraged veterans’ family members to talk with veterans about the war experience because it would start the healing process for those struggling with troubling war memories.

    At the Southport ceremony, Southport Selectman Gerry Gamage spoke about the mission led by the late Jay Zeamer of Boothbay Harbor. Pastor Al Roberts, at the Boothbay ceremony, told the story of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” and encouraged parents to continue to teach their children about the meaning of Memorial Day.  

    Despite the cool, damp weather, good crowds showed up to hear the various messages and view the ceremonies at Newagen, Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay and East Boothbay on Monday, May 27. A good contingent of veterans marched and several wore the uniforms from the branch of service they were in.

    Americanism officer Chris Armstead was kept busy during the parades, setting up stands for the wreath laying, making sure the microphone and speaker were in working order, helping with the placement of the wreaths, filling in with a speech at East Boothbay, and organizing the various ceremonies.

    Al Cohen escorted veteran Barclay Shepard and grand marshal Sarah Sherman McGrail to the various ceremonies in his vehicle. High school junior Hannah Hills, a member of the Community Band, was also busy during the ceremonies, playing “Taps” and singing the national anthem.