A socially distant Memorial Day service

  • Residents and veterans stand during the National Anthem at Phillipston’s Memorial Day ceremony. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/GREG VINE

  • Rev. Stephanie Flynn gives the benediction. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/Greg Vine

  • Stephen Babineau plays taps at Phillipston’s Memorial Day ceremony. ATHOL DAILY NEWS

For Athol Daily News
Published: 5/25/2020 2:03:55 PM
Modified: 5/25/2020 2:03:51 PM

PHILLIPSTON – While many New England communities decided to forego this year’s Memorial Day celebration, such was not the case in Phillipston. While the cononavirus pandemic led to some changes in the annual remembrance of those service members from town who fought and died in America’s wars, it did not dampen the spirit of those — all wearing masks — who took part.

Instead of the traditional parade from the Town Common to the Upper Cemetery, the town instead arranged for vehicles from the three public safety departments — police, fire, and public works — to traverse several roads in town Sunday morning with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Residents were encouraged to stand in front of their homes to view the procession and remember the fallen.

After gathering at the common and making their tour of the town, the vehicles returned to Upper Common, where veterans and residents had gathered for a brief ceremony.

The procession was let by a police cruiser and by members of Chapter 373 of the American Legion Riders motorcycle club based in Baldwinville.

The event included the laying of a wreath at the town monument by Star Scout Grady Campos, the playing of taps by Stephen Babineau, raising of the flag by Marshal John Marr, and a recording of the Air Force Band playing the National Anthem. The Rev. Stephanie Flynn offered the benediction. In addition, prior to the playing of the Anthem, Civil War reenactor Mike Flye, dressed in the uniform of a Confederate soldier, fired a salute with his 1853 Enfield rifle.

Before giving her benediction, Rev. Flynn said, “I just want to thank the residents of Phillipston, and the Board of Selectmen, and especially my husband, Kevin Flynn. I can’t tell you how many other administrators said, ‘Let’s just cancel,’ and he didn’t. And I want to thank the Fire Department, the Police Department, the emergency medical people, certainly our whole motorcycle contingent, and everyone involved in public safety. And I understand this was John Seamon’s idea; what a wonderful, wonderful idea.”

Refreshments available following the ceremony were provided by Red Apple Farm.


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