Harned-Fowler VFW Post 6471

Manchester Center, VT

Celebrates Memorial Day



Memorial Day remembrances went forward across the Northshire despite Monday's wet weather, as residents paid their respects to men and women who have given their lives for their country.

In Dorset, one of the state's oldest annual Memorial Day celebrations dodged the rain by canceling the usual parade from the United Church of Dorset and East Rupert to Maple Hill Cemetery, and welcomed cookout guests to the church basement rather than the lawn. But the ceremony went forward as planned inside the church, with remembrances, patriotic songs and prayers for peace.

Veterans in the audience were asked to stand and be recognized, and were greeted with loud applause for their service.

United Church of Dorset and East Rupert pastor Rev. James H. Gray, in a speech on Dorset's role in Memorial Day remembrance, said the holiday is best observed when citizens remember and understand the deeper meaning of service and sacrifice.

"We must remember that those soldiers fought to end injustice, those soldiers fought to end killing, so that there are no more wars," Gray said.

Manchester held two Memorial Day services, at Dellwood and Factory Point cemeteries, with members of VFW Post 6471 providing the color guard and officiants, and area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts volunteering their time and assistance.

At Dellwood Cemetery, the color guard quietly assembled at 10 a.m. and walked to the Fowler family plot, in honor of Harvey Fowler, one of the two veterans for whom the post is named.

Bruce Charbonneau, the VFW post commander, thanked Long Trail School teacher Kim Rizio for leading a group of students in planting new flags at veterans' markers in cemeteries throughout Dorset. "The kids truly appreciated what went on that day," he said of the experience.

Rizio said the students, performing the service during the school's annual stewardship day, were genuinely moved.  "When we got on a bus they unanimously said `we have to do this again every year,'" Rizio said Monday. "It gave me goose bumps."

As Bill Weeks, Jim Johnson, Howard Bleakie and Bill Jones held the colors, three volleys of rifle fire cracked the silence, followed by post junior vice commander Neil Henrikson playing "Taps."

"It's up to us to remember their sacrifice," American Legion Post 69 commander Gerald Woodard said of the men and women being honored Monday. "We need to be there for them -- not just as Americans, but as members of our American Legion family."