Memorial Day observed in small-town Maine

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American Legion Post 61 marches to the memorial on Depot Street and High Street. (Photos by Annie Twitchell)

FRANKLIN COUNTY – “Memorial Day ain’t for guys like me,” Bob Tripi said during a brief speech at the Memorial Day service in Kingfield.

American Legion Post 61 held a Memorial Day service on Monday, May 29, at the memorial in the heart of Kingfield. The service included the singing of the National Anthem and a recount of the table set for one that recognizes those who are prisoners of war or missing in action.
The Legion Auxiliary shared the names of each individual recognized in the field of flags at the memorial; funds raised through the field of flags project go towards supporting community and veteran initiatives. In keeping with a long-standing tradition at Post 61, Meldon Gilmore read a poem titled ‘Freedom is Not Free,’ following which Tripi gave a short speech.

Tripi served in the U.S. Air Force, then as a border patrol agent before retiring to Kingfield. He noted that he sometimes felt uncomfortable when thanked for his service and reflected that he felt undeserving of that gratitude, especially in light of those who served and did not come home, or those who served and came home to continuing battles with homelessness, addiction, and other challenges.

“Memorial Day ain’t for guys like me,” Tripi said, “Who served and then came home. It’s for all those men and women who didn’t.”

The service concluded with a 21-gun salute. Following the service, the community was invited to a gathering at the Legion Hall on School Street.


Meldon Gilmore reads ‘Freedom is Not Free’ during the service on Monday, May 29.


Larry Pinkham of Phillips lays a wreath at the memorial in downtown Phillips.

In Phillips, a short Remembrance March took place along Main Street at 10 a.m. In previous years the Phillips Fire Department has assisted with traffic control for Memorial Day events in Phillips, but this year the department was informed over the weekend that there would be no service or event on Memorial Day.

The department decided to take action and to continue the tradition of recognizing those who lost their lives in service. At the last minute, the department organized a short march from the Phillips Library to the war monument on Main Street. Local veterans gathered at the monument along with the firefighters to observe the laying of a wreath and to take a few minutes to honor the sacrifices made by these men and women.

For Memorial Day, the Phillips Public Library set up a display honoring Sgt. Zelwood Gravlin, a soldier from World War 2 who finally came home just six months ago. The display will be available to the public throughout much of the summer, until Phillips Old Home Days.


Nicole Norton and children Spring and Ivy wave to Phillips Fire during the parade.


Kingfield Fire stands by during the Memorial Day Service in Kingfield.


The Field of Flags in Kingfield. Each flag has a tag with the name of the person to whom the flag is dedicated.
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