Memorial Day events around the Island honor veterans

Edgartown School seventh graders throw flowers into Edgartown Harbor during Memorial Day ceremonies. —Michael Cummo

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember the lives that were lost in service to America, as well as to celebrate the veterans who fought. Starting on May 25 and continuing through the weekend, the Island will hold a number of events showing respect to fallen troops.

The Oak Bluffs School will kick off its Memorial Day celebration with a Community Meeting that will bring families and faculty together in remembrance of those who have served. The meeting starts at 8:30 am on Friday, May 25, and will honor local veterans and their families.

As per age-old tradition, the Edgartown School community will leave the school and march down Main Street in procession with a full brass and percussion band starting at 1 pm. The children will stop at the courthouse steps to lay flowers at the monuments commemorating some of those who fought and died in Korea and Vietnam.

Once the procession arrives at Memorial Wharf at 1:15 pm, there will be a speech by Jamie Craig, a retired naval aviator who served in Desert Storm, as well as musical performances from students. The eighth graders will recite the Gettysburg Address given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, while the seventh graders will recite “O Captain! My Captain!” an elegy written by Walt Whitman about the death of Lincoln.

The Tisbury School will also have its annual March to the Sea on Friday. Starting at 12:30 pm, students, faculty, and families will begin the march down Spring Street and then step onto Main Street. The procession then works its way toward Owen Park, where everyone convenes at the top of the hill near the flagpole.

There, retired sergeant and post commander of American Legion Post 257 Jo Ann Murphy will give a speech honoring the veterans as well as those who lost their lives in service. Murphy is also the Veterans service officer, and helps organize many of the events.

Along with Murphy, Edgartown resident Bob Sparks will make a speech honoring all the veterans who were killed in action. Sparks was an American history professor at Northeastern University, and is the owner of American Real Estate.

The eighth graders will sing the National Anthem, and a selected group of students will perform “My Country, Tis of Thee.”

At 7:30 in the morning on Monday, May 28, Memorial Day, veterans will put up 450 full-size American flags in Oak Grove Cemetery for the annual Avenue of Flags.

The Chilmark School has its walk to the sea as well, which begins at 9:15 am at the Menemsha Coast Guard Station House.

All flags will be put to half-staff at the beginning of the day, then returned to the top of their poles at noon.