TOWNSEND -- Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6538 and American Legion Post No. 199 and their respective ladies auxiliaries will attend a Memorial Day service at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, May 25, at the Townsend Congregational Church, to kick off Memorial Day activities in town.
Two parades and a band concert take place in the afternoon that same day. All marching units will assemble at the VFW Park in West Townsend at 1 p.m. A memorial service will be held there at 1:30 before the veterans groups, accompanied by the Townsend Military Band, the Townsend Fire/EMS Department, the Townsend Minuteman Company, the Townsend Knights of Columbus Council No. 14842, members of the clergy, town officials, numerous Scout groups and Holly's Bunch march east on Main Street to Canal Street.
Flowers will be strewn upon the water from a decorated boat during the memorial service at the Canal Street Bridge in honor of those who lost their lives at sea. After the service at the bridge, all units will proceed to the Riverside Cemetery for a memorial service.
At each of these services, Rev. Kevin Patterson will give the invocation, the Townsend Military Band will play a hymn, volleys will be fired by the American Legion Post No. 199 firing squad, and taps will be played.
The parade will disband after leaving the cemetery to later re-form at the Spaulding Memorial School in Townsend Center. At about 2:35 p.m., the Townsend Minuteman Company will fire a saulte at the Bicentennial Monument in front of the school before the marching units move down Turnpike Road to the Main Street Bridge. Those who lost their lives at sea will also be honored during the Main Street Bridge memorial service with flowers being strewn upon the water from a decorated boat.
After the service at the bridge, marchers will parade to Memorial Hall for a memorial service. The parade will then pass around the town common and go to the Hillside Cemetery for a memorial service. Rev. Jeremy St. Martin will offer the invocations at all three memorial services.
The Freemasons of the Grand of Massachusetts, who will join the parade at the school, will separate from other marchers at the cemetery so they may conduct a special memorial service at the grave of Henry Price, founder of Masonry in America.
After leaving the cemetery, the parade will move down Highland Street to Brookline Street and into the the Common. There, an invocation by Rev. Joan-Anne Westfall will be followed by the presentation of the Gettysburg Address by a Boy Scout and Flanders Field by a Girl Scout. The parade will disband after the memorial service at the Civil War Monument on the Common.
Townsend's Memorial Day observances will continue as the Townsend Military Band presents a concert from the bandstand on the common beginning about 15 minutes after the parade's conclusion. The band will conclude its Memorial Day concert at about 5 p.m. by playing Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" and the "Star Spangled Banner."
Memorial Day observances will be held rain or shine. It is hoped that many area residents will come out to watch the ceremonies. All veterans and active military, with or without uniforms, and/or members of their families are encouraged to march with the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members and to join them in honoring all deceased comrades.
The Townsend Fire/EMS Relief Association will be selling barbecued chicken dinners complete with potato salad, cranberry sauce and roll with butter, hot dogs, hamburgers, cold soda and bottled water at the back of the common from noon until sold out.
Because Fire/EMS members only plan to serve 150 chicken dinners that day, it is recommended that you arrive close to noon if you wish to purchase a dinner.