Towns prepare for Memorial Day

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Mon., May. 23, 2011
Jerry Wright, selectman Linda Knowlton and Fred Oliver work on beautifying Veterans Monument Park in time for the Andover Memorial Day celebration. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Jerry Wright, selectman Linda Knowlton and Fred Oliver work on beautifying Veterans Monument Park in time for the Andover Memorial Day celebration. Photos by Melanie Savage.

After days of nonstop rain, it was looking iffy for the annual pre-Memorial Day cleanup of the Andover Veterans Monument Park. But Saturday, May 21 dawned precipitation-free, if a bit foggy, so the work party went on as planned. At 9 a.m. there were a total of four volunteers gathered at the park, including event organizer Dianne Grenier.

“It’s between three and 300 people, that’s what we look for,” said Grenier. “However many people show up, we get as much done as we can in three hours.” The purpose of the party is to spiff up the park and its monuments in time for the town’s Memorial Day parade. The route runs from the elementary school to the park, where participants stop for a brief wreath-laying ceremony. The parade then continues to the cemetery on Cider Mill Road, where the major ceremony is held.

Grenier was not concerned about the lack of volunteers. “Normally we have the Boy Scouts helping us, but they have a bike thing this weekend,” she said. “People trickle in. On average, we get between 12 and 15 volunteers.” Sure enough, as she spoke, Grenier watched a red truck towing an equipment-laden trailer pull into the parking area. “I love this guy,” said Grenier, trotting off to put the new arrival to work.

On tap for the work day were a number of activities, including weeding, mulching, and cutting down a number of sickly trees. “We have a couple of things going on here that we’re very excited about,” said Grenier. The town is awaiting a custom-built bridge that will span Route 316 and connect two portions of the Airline Trail. This spring, an old well from the creamery building that originally stood on the site was finally relocated, after years of speculation and searching. “We’re going to have access to water for the people who care for the plants here all summer long,” said Grenier. “Most of them are elderly, and they’ve been carrying water with them all the way across town.”

Another long-anticipated feature is a sign identifying the park. After months of fundraising, Grenier has managed to secure the money needed for the sign. “Those things are expensive,” she said. The sign will be four feet by eight feet, two-sided, surrounded by a stone wall, and lit at night. “We’re right on Route 6 here,” said Grenier. “We have a ton of traffic go by. This will be a magnificent sign. It’ll be a thing of beauty.”

The Andover Memorial Day parade is scheduled for Monday, May 30. “Step-off is at 8:45 a.m. sharp,” said Grenier. The parade runs from the elementary school to Veterans Monument Park (corner of Route 316 and Route 6) and back again. “The timing is because the RHAM band has to march in all three parades,” said Grenier, “Andover, Hebron and Marlborough.”

Hebron’s parade begins at 11 a.m. at RHAM, and proceeds down Main Street.

Columbia’s Memorial Day ceremony takes place on Monday, May 30 beginning at 10 a.m., at the town green.

Lebanon’s Memorial Day parade is scheduled for Saturday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m., at the town green.

Franklin’s Memorial Day parade takes place on Monday, May 30 beginning at 10 a.m., at Giddens Park, located behind Veterans Park.


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