It’s Victory in Europe (VE Day, May 8), the 75th anniversary of the end of hostilities from World War II in the European theater.
Each Memorial Day the Town in coordination with the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 has taken every opportunity to honor those WWII heroes still with us. The Post currently list five in its membership. Over half the Post membership was WWII vets 25 years ago. It’s been more than 75 years since these vets went off to war.
Today, with the Covid-19 situation foremost in our collect minds, I contacted the Town Manager with the thought of reluctantly, cancelling the Memorial Day events for 2020 due to the current and projected restriction on large gatherings.
I received a pleasant counter proposal by Town Manager Barry Tibbetts. “Why don’t we bring the parade to the Windham community?”
After a Zoom meeting with the Town Manager Tibbetts, Police Chief Kevin Schofield, Fire Chief Brent Libby, the Town’s Economic Development chair Tom Bartlett, and members of the Legion Post 148 Eric Bickford and Dave Tanguay, a plan was developed and placed in the works. The plan is to hold a “Rolling Parade” through the neighborhoods of the town and bring the Parade to the Community.
The details for this novel approach to Memorial Day are still being worked out by the Fire Chief Libby and Police Chief Schofield as to security issues and the route. In general, it will look something like the “Easter Bunny” Route from last month.
Staring at the north end of the town (Raymond Line) and progress south along Route 302 the parade would run through as many subdivisions and neighborhoods based on accessibility. The “Rolling Parade” would start at 9 a.m. and run for about two hours along the 302 corridor, then turn easterly along Route 202 to South Windham.
The Grand Marshal for this year’s Parade will be WWII veteran and P-51 pilot, Carroll MacDonald, now residing in North Windham. Other veterans from all our wars and conflicts will also be involved in the parade.
The Town and Legion Post are asking our community to come out to honor these and all of our veterans. You can enjoy the parade from the comfort of your home and maintain the social distancing mandates. Or, you can park in the parking lots that front Route 302 in North Windham and watch the parade go by from the comfort of your vehicle.
The other event that the community may help with is the annual placement of flags of the Veteran’s graves in Arlington Cemetery. North Windham. This is an event where social distancing can safely take place. For those with a concern, masks and nitrile gloves will be available. The flag placement will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 16. Other cemeteries will be covered by our veterans the week before.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Town Manager Barry Tibbetts for his “outside the box” thinking that will allow the veteran community to salvage some elements of Memorial Day.
These are also opportunities to make memorable events for your family during this challenging time. Please join us.