Memorial Day parade, service draws large crowd

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PATRIOTS — From left, Sylvia Michaud-Kessell, Marilyn Hanscom, Carol Gould, Roy Earle and Ralph Merrill salute the flag Monday morning during the South Paris Memorial Day service as the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School band plays the Star Spangled Banner at Moore Park.

PARIS — More than 100 people gathered for a Memorial Day parade and service May 28 that began in front of the Oxford County courthouse and ended at the Veterans Monument at Moore Park.

State Rep. Kathleen Dillingham, R-Oxford, told residents that Memorial Day is a day “to remember the men and women who died fighting for us, who literally gave all that they could to ensure that we remained free and happy.”

“We live a comfortable life here in western Maine,” Dillingham said. “We may have serious issues to contend with, and not every day has a happy ending, but we are comfortable. We enjoy a sense of security that other people either don’t know or will never know.

“We are here today because there are those here who are willing to risk their own comfort or security, knowing they might never come home.”

The parade was led by Grand Marshal Ralph Merrill, a 95-year old World War 2 veteran.

Police Chief Hartley “Skip” Mowatt read General Logan’s Memorial Day Order, Bruce LeBlanc read President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, William Dieterich read the poem “In Flanders Field” and Alexi Knight read America’s answer to that poem.

Near the end of the service, Joseph Woodbury, commander of Foster-Carroll Post 72 in South Paris, led a flag retirement ceremony at the Veterans Monument, replacing the old flag with a new one donated by South Paris resident Kathy Richardson in memory of her late husband, Jack.

Don Mayberry, the reverend at First Congregational Church in South Paris, gave the invocation and benediction, while the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School band performed music and TAPS.

mdaigle@sunmediagroup.net

Matthew Daigle/Sun Journal

State Rep. Kathleen Dillingham addresses the crowd Monday morning during the South Paris Memorial Day parade and service at the Veterans Monument in Moore Park.