Memorial Day Events Across Cape Cod Honor the Fallen

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Granite Memorial at Yarmouth Town Hall Honoring Local Veterans

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Granite Memorial at Yarmouth Town Hall Honoring Local Veterans

DENNIS – The fallen men and women of the Armed Forces were remembered and honored with Memorial Day activities across Cape Cod Monday that included parades, speeches and solemn ceremonies.

In Dennis, the morning rain forced the cancellation of an annual parade and moved the ceremonies inside to the town’s senior center.

World War II Army veteran Walter Von Hone said it was important to remember those who have lost their lives.

“It’s hard to explain how you feel because it has a lot of meaning, having known so many men who are no longer here today,” he said.

Retired Brigadier General Anthony Schiavi, who delivered the keynote address in Dennis, said the country must never forget those who served.

“Together, we journey into the past to revisit the flood of painful memories, so that we may honor the men and woman who have fought and died to preserve our way of life,” he said.

Schiavi had 30 years of service of the Air Force and Massachusetts Air National Guard and was the commanding officer of the 102nd Fighter Wing and 102ndIntelligence Wing at Joint Base Cape Cod.

“Today with heavy hearts, we recall their loss. They had names, they had families, they had futures. They were our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, children and family and friends,” Schiavi said.

Von Hone, 90, was on active duty in World War II and remained in the reserves during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He said it was emotional to think about all of those who have died.

“When you started off as a 17-year-old in a war, and you end up looking at 90, lots of things have happened and a lot of men you knew and served with are no longer here, it’s difficult,” said Von Hone.

The early morning rain forced the cancellation of other activities around the Cape, including a parade in Barnstable and a ceremony planned for the JFK Memorial in Hyannis.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Memorial Day services take place at the Mashpee Community Park and Veterans Garden Monday

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Memorial Day services take place at the Mashpee Community Park and Veterans Garden Monday

Wellfleet’s Memorial Day ceremony was moved from the lawn at town hall to the Congregational Church. An event to honor veterans in Chatham was moved to the community center.

Sandwich’s parade was also cancelled, but a ceremony was still held at the American Legion Hall.

Yarmouth’s Memorial Day event went on as planned outside, despite the rain, and featured the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America.

Cub Scout Pack 59 held flags representing all branches of the military, while the Mattacheese 6th Grade Chorus performed a choral melody.

1st Barnstable State Representative Tim Whelan (R-Brewster), who attended events in Dennis and Yarmouth, said the country must never forget those who have given their lives.

“When the music stops, when the trumpets fade, when the dust settles, our Gold Star families, and those people who hold our heroes dear, they need to be reminded that we’re here for them 365 days a year. I think Memorial Day is a really good opportunity to make sure that our Gold Star families get that message.

Elsewhere on Cape Cod, a ceremony was held at the Mashpee Community Park and Veterans Garden.

A Field of Honor Flag display at Patriots Square on Route 134 helped mark the solemn holiday.

Cape Cod Cares for the Troops hosted their Annual Troops in the Spotlight at the Kmart Plaza in Hyannis. The 24-hour event focused on honoring veterans, wounded warriors and Gold and Blue Star families.

The annual pancake breakfast in Centerville took place at Our Lady of Victory Church.

Services were held on Sunday at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

The first Memorial Day can be traced to three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, that’s when the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.

It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery.

Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y. as the “birthplace” of Memorial Day in 1966.

A ceremony there on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff.


(Material from was used in this report.)

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  1. Julia Johnson says

    Another thought about the origin of Memorial Day that seldom sees the light of day.

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