May 28, 2020PLYMOUTH – There were no parades, no large crowds, no pipes and drums, but the Town of Plymouth was still able to hold a solemn Memorial Day ceremony on Monday that people can view on the local public broadcast station.
Town Manager Kathy Lowe developed the idea to hold a virtual Memorial Day ceremony, and selectmen thought it was a great idea.
Chairman Bill Bolton said the board felt it would be a shame to not recognize such an important day in the nation and loved her idea to put together a taped ceremony.
"We were all under the assumption that we just weren't going to be able to do anything this year until she brought her proposal to us," Bolton said.
Going back through past Memorial Day video the town had archived, they were able to retrieve a prayer from Pastor Dennis Simmons of Gateway Alliance Church, a poetry reading by Kate Donahue and special remarks from John Boyle. Also included was the song "Hallelujah" for Veterans as performed by Hannah Gove from Dorchester.
On Monday, some new footage was added, too. Done in a very low-key fashion with only a few onlookers, Bolton headed up this year's ceremony with a brief speech. He began with a quote from the late U.S. Sen. John McCain who had once been a prisoner of war.
"Thanks to great men like John McCain, and the millions of other brave young men and women who fought and died for our county, our rights and our comforts have been protected," said Bolton, later adding, "We owe a great debt to our brave service members, and today is about that service, their sacrifice, their families, and the gratitude that we as a community and country have."
New to the previous years' ceremonies, Bolton then read the meaning of the Honor Bell's Seven Tolls, which bear significant meaning to Memorial Day, before Brian Murphy rang the Town Hall bell seven times.
Toll One represents the Choice to Serve, Two is for Camaraderie formed between not only those who do serve but their family and friends as well. The third toll stands for Patriotism, the fourth for Respect and the fifth for Dignity. The sixth tolling of the bell is for Honor due to a veteran who has died while the seventh is for Value of Life.
"The seventh toll represents the ultimate sacrifice that the veteran has made. Whether killed in action, or after long years of quiet service, the value of a veteran cannot be adequately described by words alone," read Bolton.
After the bell rang out seven times, members of Boy Scout Troop 56 placed a wreath by the monument in front of the building and veteran Dave Moorhead performed the ceremonial lowering of the flag. Concluding the ceremony was Eagle Scout Troy Tedeschi's trumpet performance of "Taps."
Monday's video was then added to the pre-recorded readings and speeches and has been made available on PBTV Channel 1301.