Memorial Day in Hampton – A Slice of Americana

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.”  –   Thomas Campbell

By Bill Powers

Visiting the Hampton General Store on a regular basis has become a happily anticipated occurrence for us. There is a large selection of ice cream sodas available at the soda fountain, including my personal favorite a root beer float. We always look forward to taking home delicious frozen or refrigerated prepared meals available from a large assortment.  Always a treat are the freshly baked goods from a good selection of brownies, cookies, cakes or pies. We are always greeted by a welcoming and smiling face and by Brutus the friendly resident canine who inhabits the store during the day. 

   As my wife and I were approaching the front door on our last visit, we read an announcement printed on a chalkboard calling attention to the Hampton General Store’s participation in Hampton’s upcoming Memorial Day Observance (May 27th). See a photo of the chalkboard notice which accompanies this article. This year the Hampton General Store will participate in Memorial Day activities at the store’s location across Main Street from the Library and Congregational Church. 

   Further investigation revealed that there are detailed plans that should prove to be engaging for anyone who participates in Hampton’s Observance of Memorial Day on May 27th. Thanks to Bob Grindle, who is the chairman of Hampton’s Memorial Day Planning Committee, I was able to learn about the plans for their remarkable program. 

    A parade is scheduled to begin assembling in front of the Hampton Congregational Church at 9:00 am; stepping off at 9:30 am. Those walking in the parade won’t have to do so on an empty stomach since there will be a pancake breakfast at the Congregational Church from 8 to 9:30 am. At 10:00 am a Memorial Day Ceremony with speakers and a recognition of our Veterans will follow at the Town Hall. 

   At that time John Tillinghast will provide opening remarks. This will be followed by: 1) the Invocation by Reverend Alan Freeman; 2) the “National Anthem” sung by Micelle Brett, during which local Scouts will walk to the flag pole and perform a flag ceremony… raising from ½ staff to full height – then lowering it back to ½ staff; 3) placing of the memorial wreath commemorating fallen veterans to the side of the Memorial Monument; 4) a gun salute by the National Guard “firing detail” and the reading of  the names of recently deceased Hampton veterans by Stan Crawford; 5) Taps and Echo Taps played by the Parish Hill band – followed by a moment of silence; 6) the singing of one verse of “America the Beautiful” by Perry Mandanis; 7) a medley of military service themes during which veterans who are attending will be asked to stand and be recognized; 8)) the introduction of the First Selectman; 9) a Retrospective on the passing of Hampton’s last WWII veterans and a brief history of the Korean War/conflict (the subject of this year’s program; 10) speakers; 11) PHMHS Band performing the “National Anthem” led by Benjamin Loomis; 12) military members who are currently serving read by Stan Crawford; 13) the presentation of the Marsh-Chesters Awards; 14) singing of “God Bless America” by Ms. Bonnie Cardwell and Ms. Renee Cuprak; 15) announcement of the Float Winners;16) Recognition Announcements; 17) Benediction by Pastor Paula of the Hampton Congregational Church.

   Jane Ireland and her equestrian drill team will perform on the ball field immediately after the ceremony. The Annual Chicken BBQ will begin at 11:30 am at the Community Center. The local band, The Barstool Diplomats will be performing during the afternoon in the Community Center. 

  At 12 noon there will be a brief Little River Naval ceremony – It will take place on the Little River bridge at the base of Hammond Hill. Participants will gather flowers and release them to the water in honor of those veterans lost at sea.

  In Hampton Memorial Day is a day-long observance designed to involve everyone in this small town to honor and mourn those who made the supreme sacrifice for America. The way they go about it, is a good way; an incredible way to remember and pay tribute. It is a slice of Americana that should be emulated far and wide.

   Members of The Hampton Memorial Day Planning Committee are: Bob Grindle; Morris Burr; Allan Cahill; Jerry Mizak; Renee Cuprak; Dayna Arriola and John Tillinghast

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