Martha's Vineyard will commemorate Memorial Day
File photo by Susan Safford
Martha's Vineyard will honor Memorial Day with solemn ceremonies of remembrance. The ceremonies will begin Friday in Island schools. On Monday, Memorial Day, Island veterans' groups will hold an official ceremony at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Tisbury.
Tisbury School students will take part in their traditional March to the Sea on Friday, May 27. The students will leave the school grounds at 12:30 pm, march along Spring Street to Main Street and end at Owen Park.
They will toss flowers into the water from the dock in memory of those who died in war, and then gather around the flagpole at the top of Owen Park for a short ceremony. If there's rain, the event will be held in the Tisbury School gymnasium.
Guests will include Jo Ann Murphy, Dukes County Director of Veterans Services, Richard Monaco, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve who served three tours in Iraq, and Meverell Good, a World War II veteran.
In a similar observance, Edgartown School children will leave their school at 1 pm on Friday and march down Main Street to Memorial Wharf where they will toss flowers into Edgartown Harbor in remembrance of the nation's war dead.
The featured guest speaker is Lt. Col. Fred "Ted" Morgan USA (Ret.). An Edgartown selectman for almost 30 years, Mr. Morgan served in the 505th parachute infantry regiment, 82nd Airborne, during World War II.
The students will say the Pledge of Allegiance and also sign the words using American Sign Language. The ceremony also includes recitations by students and patriotic music by the school's Eagle Band.
Chilmark School students will take a bus to Menemsha at 8:45 am, then walk to the U.S. Coast Guard Station. After remarks by a Coast Guard member, fifth-grader Gabriel Ambulos will play "Taps" on his bugle at the dock as students throw flowers into the water.
Friday morning at 8:15 am, Oak Bluffs School students will perform songs, poems, and recitations by grade in honor of invited Island veterans.
The West Tisbury School will hold an assembly at 1:45 pm where students will hear remarks about Memorial Day and sing patriotic music accompanied by the school band. The chorus will sing a vocal version of "Taps," followed by a trumpet solo by Lucas Dutton.
On Monday, Memorial Day, American Legion members will put up flags at the cemetery starting at 7:30 am and take them down at 3 pm. Volunteers to help with erecting and removing the flags are appreciated.
At 9:30 am, Monday members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars step off for a parade from American Legion Post 257 opposite Tisbury School to Oak Grove Cemetery.
A brief ceremony follows at the Avenue of Flags. Representatives of the branches of military services will lay wreaths at the Avenue of Flags, followed by remarks by guest speaker James S. Craig of Edgartown. A lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Mr. Craig served from 1988 to 1993 as a helicopter pilot and training and operations officer for a helicopter antisubmarine squadron. He flew 38 direct combat-support missions during Operation Desert Storm.
The Ladies Auxiliary from American Legion Post 257 will collect donations for poppies at Vineyard Haven locations during the Memorial Day weekend and at the Tisbury parade. Proceeds will be donated to veterans' hospitals.
Also on Monday, a Memorial Day Picnic open to everyone takes place from noon to 4 pm on the grounds of the Tisbury Water Works on West Spring Street off State Road.
Those who attend are asked to bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs or a blanket, and leave their dogs at home. Picnickers who bring hot dogs and hamburgers may have them cooked on a gas grill by a volunteer crew of cooks. Free ice cream will be available. The rain date is Sunday, June 5.
Entertainment includes live music provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as outdoor games, pony rides, and rowboat rides.
Picnic-goers are encouraged to take the bus, because parking is limited. Vineyard Transit Authority buses that travel the State Road route past West Spring Street will stop at the Tashmoo overlook during picnic hours.
Americans nationwide have been asked to pause at 3 pm Monday for the National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress in honor of those who gave their lives in service.