Memorial Day on America’s North Shore
Memorial Day is a special day for most people in the small communities that dot America’s North Shore. It’s the holiday that the entire community participates in, and that’s something you don’t see in the large communities.
Growing up, I remember being in every Memorial Day parade for years. Sometimes we rode the fire trucks. It was a treat to ride the antique truck, antique even then some forty years ago. Most of the time we rode the pumpers, and once the tanker. Other times we marched, as Cub Scouts, Little League. Heck, some kids just put streamers on their bikes and rode along in the parade.
The fire department and the ambulance were always in the parade. The color guard from the American Legion led. Fire trucks from a half dozen other fire departments would also join, as their schedules allowed. The school band and pom pom girls marched, as did one or more bands from neighboring schools. Again, as their schedules allowed. The town cop and a deputy or a trooper. These are good sized parades going for a half hour or more. Some folks planned their day, going from parade to parade.
Our parade ended up at the cemetery. The vets all had flags on their graves. The same guy did it for thirty plus years. There was a monument to our war dead there, just as there is in every village along the North Shore.
There are speeches, prayers, a 21 gun salute, and Taps is played by someone from the band.
That was how Memorial Day went when I grew up and that’s the way it still is in the heart of America’s North Shore. It’s also the time when we decorate the graves of our family members who have gone to God. We’d drive in to Hornell every year about this time and climb the hill to plant flowers at Grandpa and Grandma DeLaney’s grave. We’d pray for them and for all the souls.
Later in life, as a volunteer firefighter, I took part in parades. The Andover parade always touched me because their memorial lists the dead from their community in the Civil War. Andover is a very small town, and in reading the names and counting the dead, you can see that an entire generation from that community gave their lives.
East Rochester has its own war memorial. Below the fold you will find pictures I took of that somber place. It memorializes those who served and those who died so that our country might remain free.
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This entry was posted on Monday, May 28th, 2007 at 10:00 am and is filed under Americas North Shore, Original writing, Commentary, Military, Memorial Day Tributes, Military, Original writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.