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Memorial Day parade canceled, but small ceremonies planned


May 20, 2020
Gilford has canceled its Memorial Day parade, though the selectmen will hold a small, socially distanced ceremony to commemorate the day.

The town traditionally hosts a Memorial Day parade and observances at the World War I and II memorial on Potter Hill Road and then moves to Pine Grove Cemetery. The ceremony typically involves music and speeches with participation by town officials, local scouts, and school bands.

This year, however, the town has canceled its traditional parade and ceremonies because of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made during last Wednesday's selectmen's meeting.

"There's a lot of folks who look forward to the Memorial Day parade and ceremony every year, but under the Stay at Home order 2.0, it looks like this year, if we do something along those lines, it's going to be extremely paired back," said board Chair Chan Eddy.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn said many communities have already canceled their Memorial Day observances.

Selectman Gus Benavides said the selectmen still want to have an observance.

Dunn posted an announcement on the town website that the selectmen will lay wreathes at the memorial on Potter Hill Road at 10 a.m. followed by a wreath laying at the Armed Services Memorial in Pine Grove Cemetery on Belknap Mountain Road. The observances will include playing "Taps" and prayers, though will not include speeches, organized marching, and bands.

"We can do our social distancing and still pay our respects," Benavides said.

Selectman Kevin Hayes said if people do come out they will socially distance. He said the cemetery is big enough for people to spread out, but there isn't as much room in the town square.

Dunn stated this in the announcement on the town website.

"The public is invited to attend these events, but it is requested that social distancing protocols be observed at all times," Dunn wrote.

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