Martha’s Vineyard events will commemorate Memorial Day

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 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, May 23. They will march along Spring Street to Main Street and end at Owen Park. The community is invited to join them.

The students 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 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 on 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 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 students will toss flowers into the harbor in memory of veterans.

Friday at 8:45 am, fifth-grade students will play “Taps” and “America” during the Oak Bluffs School’s community meeting, which will be attended by Dukes County Director of Veterans Services Jo Ann Murphy and a group of Island veterans. The meeting program will include presentations about Memorial Day by second-graders and remarks by guest speaker Lt. Col. David Berube, the Oak Bluffs Police Department’s chaplain and a chaplain with the Massachusetts National Guard.

At West Tisbury School, a program at 1:30 pm on Friday in the gym will begin

with remarks by Principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt about Memorial Day’s meaning and importance. Music teacher Alice Jenkins will discuss why people often choose to share gratitude and celebration through music and song, followed by vocal and instrumental performances by students and a community sing-along. Parents, veterans, active duty military personnel, and first responders are invited to attend.

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 would be greatly appreciated, Ms. Murphy said.

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 Senior Chief Jason Olsen, U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha’s officer in charge. Chief Olsen, who took command of the station in June 2010, will be transferring to a new duty station in South Portland, Maine, next month.

Also on Monday, Tisbury hosts a Memorial Day Picnic open to everyone from noon to 4 pm on the grounds of the restored Tashmoo Spring Building, 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.

Entertainment includes live music provided by the Flying Elbows, supported by the MV Cultural Council, as well as outdoor games, pony rides, chalk art, rowboat rides, and tours of the Spring Building.

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.