MAY | Remembering The Fallen
Perhaps it was appropriate that Memorial Day this year began with a fog, a heavy one, and perhaps it was also appropriate—at least for the more optimistic of us—that by 10:30 when the official ceremony kicked off at the Amaral Bailey American Legion Hall in Manchester, the sun began its surge.
Manchester was the only Cape Ann community that held an in-person ceremony. In light of COVID-19 and the state’s tentative and phased return from mass quarantine, Rockport, Essex, and Gloucester opted out of actual community events to mark fallen soldiers in US wars. All communities participated instead in a virtual ceremony, organized by 1623 Studios and airing at 11 a.m. on the holiday. Manchester planned its ceremony carefully.
This year was different. No parade, no bands, no Rosedale Cemetery, and no Flanders Field. The public was encouraged to stay away from the Legion Hall, but many came. Those in attendance kept to safe-distancing rules, in masks and spread out in the parking lot between cars, and sat in chairs on the lawn of the Masonic Hall next door. Some showed up by boat in the inner harbor. Others could be seen sprinkled on porches and decks of homes along the water.
State Senator Bruce Tarr was in attendance and spoke. So did Adam Curcuru, Cape Ann’s Veterans Service Officer who would typically be taken on Memorial Day for Gloucester’s services. The Legion firing line battalion began, led by William “Bill” Bell, Sergeant in Arms leading the 2020 detail: George Nickless, G. David MacDougall, Robert “Bob” Reed, Mike Kwedor, Michael Doane, Mike Grimm and Dane Moruzee. American Legion Chaplain Bruce G. Heisey led the 30-minute service, which included Dan Slade, Jack Buckley, Tom Henderson, Michelle Baer, Cheryl Lamphear (both Legion Auxillary), Paul Dozier, Vionette Chipperini, Tom Cockfield (Coast Guard), Ed Gavin (Air Force), Bill Lemke (Marines), Bob Cannon (Navy) and Kayla Lemke (Army).