LACONIA — Memorial Day, a federal holiday for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed services, will be observed throughout the Lakes Region on Monday with parades and ceremonies .
Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the Civil War to remember the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war, the most deadly in American history, which claimed over 600,000 lives.
The origin of the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers who died in that war is traced by many historians back to the early days of that war in the southern states and it was established as a national observance by General Josh Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868.
According to the on-line Wikipedia encyclopedia the first widely-publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War took place 150 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina on May 1, 1865.
The article states ''During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled "Martyrs of the Race Course." Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen's schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. The site of the remembrance celebration would come to be called the "First Decoration Day" in the North.''
The Lakes Region Memorial Day ceremonies are as follows:
The Laconia VFW Post #1670, in conjunction with the Wilkins-Smith Post #1 American Legion will be having a Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
The parade will be starting at Wyatt Park on South Main Street and marching up Main Street, ending at Veteran's Square, where there will be a ceremony as well as guest speakers, including Laconia Mayor Ed Engler.
The Town of Gilford observance will be held Monday, May 25 with the parade organizing at the Community Church parking lot at 9:15 a.m. The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and proceed along Potter Hill Road for observances at the World War I & II Veterans Memorial and then onto Belknap Mountain Road for observances at Pine Grove Cemetery.
MEREDITH — American Legion Post 33 has announced the schedule for Memorial Day services on Monday, May 25: 8 a.m. Oakland Cemetery, Meredith Center, with service by Rev. Robert Lemieux, 9 a.m. Meredith Village Cemetery, Rte. 3, with service by Rev. Dennis Audet, 9:30 a.m. assemble at Post 33 parking lot on Plymouth Street, 9:50 a.m. parade to library for 10 a.m. ceremony.
10:15 a.m. ceremony at Swazey Cemetery, Lang Street, 10:30 a.m. Hesky Park band stand; 10:45 a.m. POW/MIA Memorial with speech by Bob Jones, 11 a.m. back to Post #33 for ice cream for scouts and lunch for everyone.
American Legion Post #58 in Belmont announced that this year's Memorial Day parade and ceremonies will be held on Monday, May 25 at 1 p.m.
The parade route runs from the Belmont Middle School parking lot down to Main Street and then along Main Street to the Veterans Memorial by St. Joseph's Church, where there will be a ceremony and guest speakers.
Post 58 and Jordan's Ice Cream are once again providing tickets for an ice cream cone to all children 12 and under who attend the parade and ceremonies.
Center Harbor's Memorial Day parade will be held on May 25 at 12 noon. The parade will start at Chase Circle and stops at three points: the library, the town docks and the Congregational Church. Wreaths will be laid at the library monument and at the old church cemetery. At each stop, there will be remembrance services conducted by various Center Harbor religious affiliations.
The annual Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m. at Blake Road near Moultonborough Central School and continues down Rte. 25 to the Town Hall. The celebration will include a medley by the Moultonborough Academy and a speech by Jim Duddy of the Marine Corps.
Alton will hold Memorial Day services on May 25, with marchers gathering at Monument Square at 9:30 am to line up in the order of marching. There will be an Invocation, and the parade will start at 10 am. and go to Riverside Cemetery for brief remarks and a firing detail and playing of taps. The procession returns to Monument Square to conclude the ceremony. There will be placing of the wreaths on the war memorials, as well as readings and music from the Prospect Mountain High School band.
Tilton's Memorial Day parade will form at 8:30 a.m. in the student parking lot at Winnisquam Regional High School and get underway at 9 a.m. with ceremonies at Park Cemetery, the Winnipesaukee River and at the monument in front of the Tilton Town Hall.
There will be a coffee social at the New Hampshre Veterans Home at 10:15 a.m. and a Memorial Day ceremony with guest speakers at 11 a.m.
The Newfound Lake area will celebrate Memorial Day with a traditional parade in Bristol on May 250. According to commander Ron Prebble, the parade gathers at the Freudenberg parking lot on Rt. 104 and proceeds at 9:30 a.m.to nearby Homeland Cemetery for a laying of a wreath and a brief ceremony. The parade then proceeds to Musgrove Bridge for a firing detail and wreath laying. The parade will then proceed to Newfound Middle School.
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