Traffic came to a halt in Edgartown Friday afternoon as the Edgartown School took to the streets for their annual Memorial Day march to the sea.
At 1:00 p.m., the entire school followed the seventh grade class down to Memorial Wharf for a short ceremony. The students walked through the center of town, making a stop at the courthouse war monuments where kindergarteners Georgia DeRoche and Amelia Russell Schaeffer placed a basket of flowers and small American flags.
At Memorial Wharf the students were met with patriotic music from the Eagle Band, led by band director Zach Tileston. After a short introduction from school principal John Stevens and a recitation of the pledge of allegiance by sixth graders Carina Cataloni and Kenny Hatt, singer and Gazette reporter/photographer Mark Lovewell stepped up to the microphone.
Mr. Lovewell strummed his guitar and gave an introduction. “When you walk by that memorial park on your return [to school] or you walk by it any day of your life, you go and you look at that, and that’s the beginning of Memorial Day. It’s a way to remember those who served our country to protect this small sea-faring town,” Mr. Lovewell said before singing a rendition of Jim Malcolm’s “Rolling Home” that had the small crowd singing along.
Seventh grader Victoria Scott gave a brief introduction and joined her classmates to recite “Oh Captain, My Captain” by Walt Whitman. After the poem, the crowd stood as the Eagle Band played “America.”
The guest speaker for the afternoon was former Edgartown selectman Lieut. Col. Fred B. (Ted) Morgan. In addition to being a graduate of the Edgartown School, Mr. Morgan is a World War II veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne division.
Mr. Morgan told war stories, such as his experience in the Battle of the Bulge, but the emphasis of his speech was on the connection he feels to his fellow soldiers. “I just wanted you to know who these people were, what they did, and what a pleasure, even under war time circumstances, it was to serve with such a group of individuals,” Mr. Morgan said.
Mr. Morgan’s granddaughter, Caroline Dolby, went up to the microphone to thank her grandfather. After adjusting the microphone, Caroline looked up at Mr. Morgan and said, “I just want to say that I really love my grandpy and thank you for fighting in the war.” The two hugged before Mr. Morgan stepped to the side and Caroline rejoined her classmates.
Once the applause died down, Sam Rollins gave a brief introduction before being joined by the entire eighth grade in reciting the Gettysburg Address from memory.
The seventh grade collected flowers from the younger students and walked to the waterfront. Parents held cameras over their heads and craned their necks to watch as the students tossed the flowers into the sea in unison.
With the flowers still floating on the water, seventh grader Jillian Pyden played Taps on her trumpet before Mr. Stevens gave closing remarks and led the students back to school.