On behalf of the members of Laurence W. Gay Post 55 of the American Legion, I would like to extend our thanks to all who were part of Groton's Memorial Day parade this year.
We extend our special thanks to our Grand Marshall Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, program executive officer for 3CI and networks at Hanscom Air Force Base, who brought the true meaning of Memorial Day home to everyone. We also extend our special thanks to the Rev. Paul Ring, Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish, our chaplain for the day. Thanks also go to state Sen. Eileen Donoghue and state Rep. Sheila Harrington, who joined us for the first part of the parade before traveling on to other Memorial Day observances in their districts.
Our thanks go to the many veterans who joined us, including a number of new faces, and to the many other veterans who were at the side of the road as we marched and rode by.
Our thanks go out to all the other participants in the parade: Groton Police Department, Groton Minutemen Company, drivers of the vehicles in our "motor pool," which transported those who could not march, our Board of Selectmen, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Groton Marching Band and Chowder Society, and Groton Fire Department.
Our special thanks to the Groton Minutemen for firing the formal musket salutes, the Boy Scouts for the flag-raising detail at Groton Cemetery, the Groton Marching Band and Chowder Society for playing "taps" at Groton Cemetery and the Nashua Granite Statesmen Barbershop Chorus for their special music at Groton Cemetery.
Thanks are also in order for our "support" functions: Groton Police Department and Middlesex County Sheriff's Department for traffic control, Nashua Valley Amateur Radio Club for sound system support at all of our parade stops, and the Laurence W. Gay Legion Auxiliary members for support with our post-parade refreshments. We also extend a special thanks for the roses donated by Rosaprima through the efforts of The Country Florist, our wreath and flower supplier.
Our final thanks go out to ALL who watched and applauded from the side of the road and/or Groton Cemetery. As Maj. Gen. Olson noted in his remarks, your presence made you participants in Groton's Memorial Day observance and showed all veterans and their families that our community does not and will not forget the sacrifices that they have made for our great nation over the years.
A final personal note: I've been running the Memorial Day parade for 15 years now and have made adjustments (hopefully improvements) over those 15 years in response to input from veterans and the community. While I think the Legion and I have done a good job, there is always room for improvement. If you have any comments or suggestions, please pass them on to me while they are still fresh in your mind. We will evaluate all input and make further adjustments in the future (some adjustments are already in the works). You can leave a message on my Groton Veterans' Services officer phone at 978-448-1175, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your input to American Legion Post 55, P.O. Box 755, Groton, MA 01450.
Thanks again to all of you and we look forward to seeing you next year!