Martha’s Vineyard will commemorate Memorial Day with tradition

A color guard from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha, followed by Martha's Vineyard veterans, led the 2012 Memorial Day parade in Vineyard Haven. — Ralph Stewart

Martha’s Vineyard will honor Memorial Day with traditional ceremonies of remembrance. The events 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 leave the school grounds for their traditional March to the Sea at 12:30 pm on Friday. They will march down Spring Street to Main Street and then on to Owen Park. The community is invited to join them.

The students will toss flowers into the water from the town pier 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 it rains, the event will be held in the Tisbury School gymnasium.

In a similar observance, Edgartown School children will leave their school at 1 pm Friday and march down Main Street. They will stop to lay flowers at the courthouse monuments, and then continue to Memorial Wharf for a program that includes patriotic music and readings. The public is invited to attend.

The guest speaker is Lt. Col. Fred “Ted” Morgan USA (Ret.), a World War II veteran of the D-Day invasion and former Edgartown selectman for almost 30 years. At the program’s conclusion seventh-graders will toss flowers into Edgartown Harbor to honor veterans and those who died in wartime service.

The Chilmark School staff and students will take a bus at 9 am Friday to Dutcher Dock in Menemsha, where they will share information they know or have researched this week about Memorial Day. Afterwards, fifth-grader Kieran Karabees will play “Taps” and students will toss flowers into the harbor in memory of veterans.

Friday morning at 8:30 am, Oak Bluffs School students will perform songs, poems, and recitations by grade in honor of invited Island veterans.

The students and staff at the West Tisbury School will gather at 1:30 pm Friday to commemorate Memorial Day. Students have been hard at work practicing songs and presentations to share with the school community. The program begins with remarks by Principal Michael Halt, a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, about Memorial Day’s meaning and importance. Music teacher Alice Jenkins will talk about the tradition of people sharing gratitude and celebration through music, before leading students in singing a variety of songs and a community sing-along.

Veterans benefit concert

On Sunday, guitarist and singer/songwriter Jonathan Auerbach, vocalist Carole Charlin, and Island musicians will perform a benefit concert from 4 to 6 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in the Tisbury Marketplace. The event is free and open to all ages. A donation of $10 at the door is suggested, with proceeds going to the Dukes County Veterans Services to help Island veterans. Proceeds from music CDs sold at the concert will go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports severely wounded service members and veterans, and families of military personnel who died in service.

Tisbury hosts parade, ceremony and picnic

On Monday, Memorial Day, American Legion members will put up flags at the Oak Grove Cemetery starting at 7:30 am and take them down at 3 pm. Volunteers to help put up and take down the flags are appreciated.

At 10 am, members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars step off for a parade from American Legion Post 257 opposite Tisbury School to the cemetery.

A brief ceremony follows at the Avenue of Flags where wreaths will be placed to honor those killed in war and the terrorist bombings of September 11, 2001. The guest speaker is Lt. Col. David Berube, who serves as the Oak Bluffs Police Department chaplain and a chaplain with the Massachusetts National Guard.

Colonel Berube recently served with other National Guard chaplains in Boston to provide spiritual support and counsel to military members, law enforcement partners, and civilian workers in the wake of explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Also on Monday, Tisbury hosts a Memorial Day Picnic open to everyone from noon to 4 pm on the grounds of the Tisbury Water Works on West Spring Street off State Road. There is no rain date.

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 crew of volunteer cooks. Free ice cream will be available. Donations from local merchants for the event include a tent from Celebrations, hot dogs from Cronig’s, and watermelon from Stop & Shop.

Entertainment includes live music provided by the Flying Elbows, as well as outdoor games, pony rides, chalk art, and rowboat rides.

Picnic-goers are encouraged to take the bus, because parking is limited. Vineyard Transit Authority buses that travel from Vineyard Haven up the State Road route past West Spring Street will provide free transportation for picnic goers to the Tashmoo overlook.

Moment of Remembrance

At 3 pm, Monday, Americans nationwide have been asked to pause in silence for the National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress to remember and honor those who gave their lives in service to their country.