Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Memorial Day in Rockport


Police Color Guard

Memorial Day is a beautiful old tradition in the North, originating after the end of the Civil War. It’s been an important event in this little town of Rockport since 1868.

I’d like to tell about a recent Memorial Day here.

We’ve had an awful lot of rain, but now everything is green and beautiful, and Memorial Day dawned warm and promising.  I put on my service dress white uniform, which fit like a sausage.  Static pressure on the choker collar was adequate.  Shoes, purchased about 1983, didn't start to produce blisters until the return march.  I figured the fact that part of my midsection wanted to escape from the sword vent just showed that I have been taking nourishment regularly.  My wife Marty advised that if I stayed with my arms by my side no one would observe. 
Then I walked  a quarter of a mile to the place where the crowd was gathering, at the American Legion Hall at Back Beach. It was a lovely day for a parade.  As I stood there, chatting with men who had fought in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, I could look out over the Atlantic Ocean
Then the march began.  There was the Rockport police color guard, the Rockport volunteer firemen color guard with their chrome-plated fire axes...  our five selectmen, nicely dressed. Then there was the American Legion color guard, men and women of all ages, shapes, uniform types, bearing the National colors, the MIA flag, etc. Then there was the Rockport high school band. 
After that came the Legion rifle squad, led by a very sharp USMC Captain, just back from Iraq, wearing dress blue with sword. After that came our group of officers and men from 1941 to 2010 or so, in all uniforms and parts of uniforms, or with civilian dress and Legionnaire hats. I marched today with a reserve Navy Captain who is a SEAL; and an aviation Master Chief.
            Then came Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Legion Band, the Middle School Band, and the Ladies' Auxiliary, and several cars carrying older veterans. 
            After a half-mile march through downtown, with plenty of spectators watching, we arrived at Beech Grove Cemetery, and the people who had been watching us march streamed into the cemetery. 
            It was a beautiful scene, hundreds of Rockporters, many carrying little American flags, standing under the lush green beech trees.  
A sharp-looking young Navy Commander was Master of Ceremonies; his mother, an Army Nurse who served in World War II, was also in uniform, in the parade. There were patriotic songs, honoring the veterans who have died in the past year, and a beautiful procession of little girls in their best dresses, and little boys in dark short pants and white shirts.  The girls put bouquets of flowers on a grave honoring WWII dead and unknown soldiers from past wars, and the boys put down flags.  This year I didn't see any of the boys sword-fighting with the flags first.
            Then there was the poem about the Poppies in Flanders Field, and an address delivered by a young USAF Lieut. Colonel Reservist. 
            The rifle squad fired three volleys, and a bugler played taps with “echo” from another bugler farther off.
Chief of Police and Sea Cadets at Lumber Wharf
Photos by Barbara Brewer

Then, we marched back to town, and down to Lumber Wharf, where we honored those lost at sea.  Boy and Girl Scouts threw wreaths of flowers on the water, the band played The Navy Hymn, and the rifle squad fired away.  At both ceremonies local ministers delivered invocations and benedictions.
            After that, we marched back through downtown, and to the Legion hall, to disband.  It felt like time to pop out of that tight uniform and have a nice, cold beer. 
            I am glad that Rockporters cling to this fine old tradition.

Here are some books and papers from The Personal Navigator:

Memoirs of the Harvard Dead in the War Against Germany, Vol. I, The Vanguard by Howe, M.A. DeWolfe1920 Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  Volume I the Vanguard includes the memoirs of thirty Harvard men whose deaths occurred before the United States entered the European War. Over 360 Harvard men died in World War I, and these are included in Vols. II through V. This volume contains the memoirs of George Williamson '05, Edward  Stone '08, André Chéronnet-Champollion '02, Harold Marion-Crawford 11, Calvin  Day 12-14, Carlton  Brodrick ’08, Harry Byng ’13, Henry Farnsworth ’12, Charles Cross Jr. 03, Archibald Ramsay 07, George Taylor 08, Allen Cleghorn (Instr), Crosby Whitman '86, Merrill Gaunt, Victor Chapman ’13, Clyde Maxwell '14, Alan Seeger '10, Henry Coit '10, Robert Pellissier '04, John Stairs (Law '14), Dillwyn Starr '08, William Lacey DMD '13, Norman Prince '08, Edward Sortwell '11, Edgar Shortt '17, Henry Simpson '18, Howard Lines (LLB '15), Lord Gorell (Henry Barnes) (Law '04), Addison Bliss '14 and Henry Suckley '10. Many colorful stories of the heroism of fine young Americans, Britons and Frenchmen. 200 pp. 15.6 x 23.7 cm. Red cloth on board with gilt page tops, title in gilt, cover bright and clean, spine sunfaded, several pages unopened, very good. (1742) $49.00. WWI/Biography

 Treat 'Em Square: The National Ex-Service Mens Magazine, May 1922 Haimes, Robert, Editor.  New York, NY: Treat 'Em Square, 33 Union Square. Cover shows soldier holding flag with Capitol in background. Lead story: "Politicians Tricking Soldiers on the Bonus--Declares Francis"--"the plain truth about the bonus is that the (Harding) Administration is afraid to pay it in the right way."  "Canadian Pension Board Makes Generous Provision for Disable War Veterans, Their Dependents, For Children Yet Unborn".  "Baseball booming, says Judge Landis".  Editorials: President proposes sales tax to pay for bonus.  Treat 'Em Square is distributed exclusively by ex-Servicemen. On Sporting Page is photo of Babe Ruth demonstrating his batting stance for Belgian General Baron Jacques. Ad for "Knights of the Ku Klux Klan" -- an institution of chivalry, humanity, justice and patriotism.   32 pp. 20 x 27.5 cm. Periodical, slight wear, very good. (7846) $45.00. World War I/Propaganda

 Boy, Goat and Officer aboard USS Monadnock, ca. 1901

Gun and Torpedo Drills for the United States Navy, prepared under the direction of the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department by Lieutenant Edward W. Eberle, U.S.N. 1901 Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute. Author Eberle (1864-1929) graduated from the Naval Academy in 1885, and wrote this book, the first of its kind, after service as turret officer aboard USS Oregon  in the Spanish-American War. Later, in 1923, he became Chief of Naval Operations. Drill of 3, 4, 5 and 6-inch rapid-fire guns for five or six men per gun: Captain, Plugman, Loader, 2 or 3 Shellmen. Drills for 5, 6, 7 and 8-inch quick-fire guns with seven or eight men per gun.  Includes detailed instructions and commands for loading, unloading. Drill of a pair of 8-inch B.L.R. mounted in turret, with an ammunition-lift for each gun, 10 men, five for each gun. Drill for pair of 10, 12 or 13-inch B.L.R. mounted in turret. Secondary gun drills, including 1-pdr. Maxim Automatic Gun. Detailed notes for Turret Mounts. Smith and Wesson Navy Revolver. Krag-Jorgensen Rifle (.30 inch). Torpedo Drills for Whitehead Torpedo. Details on Whitehead Torpedo.  Tables for Schedule of Exercises, Regulations for Target Practice, tables for Subcaliber Practice. For Torpedo firing, Range Table.            . 222 pp.          10 x 14.6 cm. Leather cover with gilt lettering and Naval Institute seal, with cover flap. Text on high-quality fine paper. Inside front hinge cracked. This copy issued to Commanding Officer USS Monadnock. Leather flap has 6 cm of biopredation along fold.  Fair. (7976)  $180.00. Naval/History

United States Naval Institute Proceedings, February, 1942, Vol. 68 No. 468 Church, Albert T., Rear Admiral, USN, Editor. 1942 Annapolis, MD: United States Naval Institute. World War II issue includes photos of early aircraft including Wilbur Wright's Hudson River flight in 1909, Navy's first pontoon-equipped plane, 1912, Navy's first use of aircraft in near-war conditions at Vera Cruz in 1914; photo of USS Texas with scouting plane launched by catapult, used in fleet maneuvers for first time in 1919, and USS Langley, Navy's first aircraft carrier. Color reproduction of painting showing Naval engagement between USS Enterprise and HMS Boxer, September 5th, 1813.  Lead article: "U.S. Naval Aeronautic Policies, 1904-42" by Henry Woodhouse.  "This New FM" by John R. Howland discusses new frequency modulation method of radio communications.  The Germans have it; the Russians do not.  "Leaves from a Greenland Diary" by Commander J.L. Allen, USN, includes several photos from Greenland and the Arctic. Photo of captured Japanese submarine of the type used in Pearl Harbor attack, also photo showing close-up of Japanese midget submarine; photo of USS Growler (SS215) being launched at Groton, CT, "a reply to the treacherous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." [NOTE: Growler had a distinguished record in World War II until she was sunk by unknown cause in November 1944 while on patrol, with all hands lost.]  Also photos of destroyers Doran (DD634) and Earle (DD635) being launched. Both destroyers were launched Dec. 10, 1941 at Boston Navy Yard, 3 days after the Pearl Harbor attack. "Notes on International Affairs" by Professor Allan Westcott includes United States Declarations of War and President's Message to Congress, also German-Italian Declarations. Westcott has been preparing this section in Proceedings since 1915. 156 pp. + adv. 17 x 25 cm. Paper periodical, minor soiling of cover wrap, very good. (7955) $28.00. Navy/World War II

Voice of Britain, The: Churchmen, Statesmen, Publicists, Doctors, Scientists and Sportsmen on Hitlerism by Austen Chamberlain, Sir; Churchill, Winston; Lloyd George, David; Barrie, James; Archbishop of Caterbury, et al. ca. 1934 London, England: McCorquodale & Co. Ltd. Collection of statements by prominent British citizens against the rise of Hitlerism, particularly the racial attacks on Jews in Germany. Includes statements by Archbishops of York and Canterbury, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, leaders of the United Methodist Church, Rt. Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain, Rt. Hon Winston Churchill, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, the Late Viscount Grey of Fallodon, Rt. Hon. Walter Elliot, Rt. Hon. W.G.A. Ormsby-Gore, The Countess of Oxford and Asquith, editorials by J.L. Garvin, Editor of The Observer, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Sir William Arbuthnot Lane and Tennis Champions Austin and Perry. 16 pp. 13.8 x 21.4 cm. Pamphlet, very good. (7813) $45.00. World War II/Anti-Fascist

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