Towns set Memorial Day ceremonies

People sometimes confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day, both official United States holidays.

There is a difference. Memorial Day honors those who have died while serving in the armed forces, and therefore inspires the more somber observances, while Veterans Day honors all veterans.

Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May, but local towns celebrate it on different days.

In Merrimack, the parade on Monday, May 25 will step off “at 11 a.m. sharp,” said VFW Commander Max Quayle, in the Merrimack Village Mall Shopping Center parking lot at 416 Daniel Webster Highway and march to the Last Rest Cemetery on Baboosic Lake Road, where there will be speeches at the Veterans Monument.

From there the parade goes to the American Legion Hall, where the Merrimack High School Band will give a small concert after marching throughout the parade.

The parade then continues to the VFW Hall at 282 Daniel Webster Highway, where six memorial plaques will be fastened to the wall to honor all veterans. After that the parade concludes at Veterans Park on Camp Sergeant Road where an Eagle Scout’s new memorial to World War II veterans will be dedicated.

The Hollis observances are also on Monday, May 25, and they starts in the evening, at 5:15 p.m. at Memorial Park on Broad Street where Scouts will set wreaths under the direction of the post commander. After a march to the town common with the Hollis Town Band there will be speeches, an announcement of essay contest winners, a historical narrative, the firing of volleys, and a benediction, with a closing at 6:45 p.m.

Bedford’s Memorial Day parade is the town’s only big parade. and it will be held on Sunday, May 24, with the theme “Saluting the Price of Freedom.”

The parade will step off at 1 p.m. on Nashua Road, across from the Little League Complex, and march to County Road and up Liberty Hill Road and end at McKelvie Intermediate School where there will be vendors selling refreshments.

For more information, call Town Manager Jane O’Brien, 472-5242, or Gary Backus at the VFW, 488-1602.

Other local events:

? Amherst will have its annual sunset observance on Friday, May 29.

The parade steps off on the town common at 6 p.m., and then stops at four cemeteries and monuments and then goes back to the common for post-parade ceremonies at 7 p.m.

? In Milford, observance is on Monday, May 25, with the parade assembling at the West Street Cemetery at 10 a.m.

Marchers go east on Elm Street, stopping on the bridge, then preceding to the Milford Oval and then to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, off Mont Vernon Street.

? One hundred fifty years ago the Civil War ended, and to honor that anniversary Lyndeborough’s Lafayette Artillery Company will hold a special ceremony during the town’s Memorial Day observances, on Sunday, May 24.

As has been customary the past few years, “President Abraham Lincoln,” in the person of Steve Wood of Claremont, will give the Gettysburg Address as part of the ceremonies on the Village Common.

“We’ll do the special service in conjunction with that,” Artillery Capt. Walter Holland said. “We want to honor all of the men from town who served.”

According to the town history, 110 men served, as well as other members of the Lafayette Artillery Company who were stationed for 90 days in Portsmouth.

Music will be provided by the Black River Fife and Drum Corps from Vermont.

The observances will begin at 9:30 on Lyndeborough Center with ceremonies in the Center Cemetery, followed by services in the South Cemetery.

The parade will step off from the Central School at 1 p.m., proceed along Forest Road (Route 31), and end at the Common. The program will include patriotic readings and music. The speaker is to be announced.

The artillery Company’s 1844 cannon will be fired after the ceremonies. Veterans present will be asked to pull the firing pin.

? In Wilton, Bent-Burke Post 10, American Legion will sponsor events on Monday, May 25.

The parade, led by the Temple Band, will leave the post home at 9 a.m., follow the usual route through downtown, and end in front of the war memorials on Forest Street.

Marchers will include local veterans, Legion Color Guard, Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Lafayette Artillery Company.

Following observances, the Post Home will be open for refreshments.