VERGENNES-Somber reflection. Patriotism. The unofficial beginning of summer. These are what most people think about on Memorial Day in Vermont.
All three ingredients will be present during what is expected to be one of the largest Memorial Day parades in Vermont as the City of Vergennes hosts the parade and follow on ceremonies this Monday, May 31.
The day begins when the parade, titled "Never Forgotten", sponsored by Vergennes American Legion Post 14, steps off from Vergennes Union High School at 11 a.m.
Floats, marching bands, color guards, veterans' groups, scouts, fire trucks, antique cars, and many more participants will cover the two-mile route as they parade down Main St., make a loop through side streets and conclude at Vergennes City Park. Both Gov. Jim Douglas and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders are expected to participate.
Ann Sullivan will announce the participating groups and personalities on the public address system as they pass the reviewing stand on Main Street.
Following the parade, Master of Ceremonies and Legion Commander Larney McGrath will kick off the ceremonies from the bandstand in the park.
The Vergennes Union High School band will play the National Anthem prior to an invocation by Rev. Yvon Royer, pastor of St. Peter's Catholic Church.
Vergennes Mayor Michael Daniels will deliver greetings and present a key to the city to parade Grand Marshall Petty Officer First Class Cassandra Foote, USN.
Navy vets will lay a wreath at the monument to Commodore Thomas McDonough, a hero of the Battle of Plattsburg on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812.
Three VUHS students will then take center stage.
Brendan Duke, a VUHS sophomore, will honor an American Revolutionary War soldier buried in the old Vergennes cemetery.
Juniors Hanna Sturtevant and Nathan North will then recite "in Flanders Field" and the Gettysburg Address, respectively.
Col. Jeffrey Farnsworth, U.S. Army, a Vergennes native, will follow with the Memorial Day address after being introduced by retired Navy captain and Legion member John Mitchell.
A unit of the Vermont National Guard will conduct a 21-gun salute in honor of those who gave their lives during our nation's wars and conflicts.
Buglers Melvin and Aaron Hawley will then sound taps. The ceremonies will conclude with benediction offered by Rev. Michael Doran, pastor of the Vergennes Methodist Church.
Those who wish to continue the festivities are cordially invited to the annual chicken barbecue under the tent at the Legion post, 100 Armory Lane. The $7 price includes not only the chicken, but also all the fixings and dessert.
For details, call 802-877-9289.