When Hanover High School students John Tiedtke and John Terry played taps on Monday morning, those in attendance saluted the graves in the Hanover cemetery, including even the youngest of Cub Scouts, who held their hands high, excited to be standing alongside police officers and firefighters.
Memorial Day (on Monday) was a warm one in Hanover this year, and the temperature made for a nice walk around the center of town.
Veterans dressed in full uniform held the American flag high and marched from the parking lot of St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, along Hanover Street and into the town cemetery, pausing at memorials along the way. Two straight lines of police officers and firefighters followed the veterans, and following close behind were members of Hanover’s Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts,
Brownies, Little League teams and the Hanover High School band. The procession was crowded on either side of the roadway by residents, parents, children and even dogs, who were dressed head to toe in red, white and blue, as well as plenty of sunscreen.
Once the parade turned off Hanover Street and headed into the cemetery, everyone trailed behind the marching vets and officers to salute the graves of those Hanover residents who’d served, and some who’d died, fighting in the nation’s wars.
Short ceremonies were held at a number of different memorials, such as the Urn for the Unknown Soldier, the VFW memorial, the American Legion Post memorial, the fire and police department memorials, the town’s World War I veterans monument, and the Civil War monument.
A final stop was made at the monument located across the street from Town Hall that commemorates Hanover residents who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf war.
At each stop a moment of silence was held, three ceremonial gunshots were fired, and then Tiedtke and Terry played taps on their trumpets.
After paying their respects, everyone made their way back to a decorated town hall. A bus was on hand to aid some veterans making the trip back and forth. Brownies and Cub Scouts enjoyed some popsicles in a shady spot. The Boy Scouts continued to hold high their troop banners and flags, as the band set up in the middle of Hanover Street, in front of town hall, ready to perform.
The band then played the National Anthem for the crowd, which was conducted by Hanover High band teacher Paul Ketchen.
Hanover Selectman Chairman David Greene addressed those in attendance at the Memorial Day ceremony. “The greatest glory of free born people is to pass that same freedom onto their children,” he said. “Hanover will never forget the brave men and women who have served us. God bless those who have served in the past and today.”
Following Greene, Hanover Fire Chief Kenneth Blanchard also spoke about the men and women who served The United States and died at young ages, and he hoped they would be remembered on Memorial Day. He mentioned that most of those on hand would likely be returning to their homes, or attending cookouts later in the day, but they should still keep in mind that Memorial Day is for the veterans, and the men and women still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, residents dispersed and went their separate ways. Some stopped by the Stetson House down the road, where Barbara Barker Kemp was dressed head to toe in colonial style attire. Others joined cookouts on Hanover Street that already had full picnic tables, loaded with hamburgers and hotdogs and other offerings.
A few guests stayed behind in the cemetery, to plant some new flowers and place flags next to the graves of loved ones. For Whitman father and son Ed and Luke Winnette, Memorial Day has become a date to travel to Hanover every year to visit and decorate the graves of their family members —Ed’s mother Phyllis Winnette who died in January of this year, and his father Ed, who died in 1969. “This year we’re planting a bed of roses,” said Winnette.
Hanover residents Bev and Casey Corbett, and Scott Rose had similar plans for the day. They spent the morning replanting the grave of Bev’s mother, the late Louise Corbett. Bev talked about how the cemetery didn’t feel like a sad place this Memorial Day and her two sons agreed. Scott, who attends the Sylvester Elementary School in Hanover, said he liked the parade. “It was kind of my first parade,” he said. “I thought the gunshots were loud, and the trumpets were good.”
Credit/Source: Kelly Clinton, Hanover Mariner, 6/1/10
Stephen T. Ryerson