Aquinnah: Memorial Day Weekend Celebrations


What a windy, wonderful Memorial Day weekend. The weather was lovely; so many people were here opening up their homes; the Aquinnah Shop was open for dinner; the Outermost Inn, Chilmark Tavern, and the Beach Plum Inn all opened. There was a celebration held by the Wampanoag tribe for our veterans on Memorial Day, and many, many parties. On Friday, the children and staff of the Chilmark School gathered as they always do, in Menemsha, to remember our fallen soldiers by reading poems and casting flowers into the sea. Because Memorial Day is not just about barbequed chicken and pie, but about the many people who have served our country and died doing so. Thank you all for your service. It is a little strange that a weekend dedicated to those who have passed makes the town feel so alive.

Today at the Aquinnah library is the eagerly awaited Adult Book Group, from 5 to 6:30 pm. The book being discussed is A Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian. This Saturday, May 30, at 11 am is the Family Jaws Party. You can come in and make a shark puppet, play family trivia, and more.

The Aquinnah Democratic Town Caucus will be this Saturday at 10 am at the Old Town Hall.

The well-known politically motivated puppet troupe, the Bread and Puppet Theater, is on a tour of the Island this week, and on Sunday, May 31, at 3:30 pm, they will perform at the Aquinnah Town Hall. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for seniors and students, and $7 for kids.

Have you been following the Gay Head Lighthouse move? They are really making progress up there. As of last Wednesday, the excavators had dug five feet six inches (or the size of my mother) below the lighthouse. The Lighthouse is now resting on beams — it is not on the ground any more. Plus, they are finding all sorts of interesting things below the lighthouse, including a glacial boulder from the last ice age, 25,000 years ago; pottery shards from the lighthouse keeper’s cottage dating from the 19th century; remnants of a stone wall from the keeper’s cottage; and geologic evidence that near where the lighthouse has stood these past years there was an ancient pond bed. You can follow the progress of the lighthouse by signing up for the email update at (where you can also donate money to them). It’s really a fascinating process.

Adelphi University conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Cora Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace, this past Thursday, May 21, at Adelphi’s 119th commencement. Ms. — Oh wait! Excuse me — Dr. Weiss is a longtime Aquinnah resident with her husband Peter. They reside on Lighthouse Road. When I read the description of all her service, I was floored by her commitment to a better and more peaceful world. Along with being the president of the Hague Appeal for Peace, which launched the Global Campaign for Peace Education, she has been a mover and a shaker in the peace movement since the early 1960s, and helped to organize the largest anti-Vietnam War demonstration, on Nov. 15, 1969, in Washington, D.C. But that’s not even the best part; the best part is that she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times! Four. In 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2012. That’s quite impressive. Congratulations, Dr. Weiss; keep up the good work. How fitting that the conferment happened just before Memorial Day.

Happy birthday to Nancy Benoit, who celebrates on Friday, and to Leah Bassett, who celebrates next Thursday.