Photo Gallery | Memorial Day Exercises in Lenox and Pittsfield
LENOX — Partly sunny skies and an appreciative crowd swept away the bit of controversy leading up to Monday's Memorial Day parade.
The morning rain long gone, the procession stepped off at noon as planned from the Church on the Hill via Main Street to the monument in the town center. Lead by local veterans and active military personnel, the units included the Lenox middle school student band. The 37 sixth, seventh and eighth-graders marched and later performed in place of the high school band, unable to muster up enough members for the event for a variety of personal and school related reasons.
Several town officials were miffed when they learned two weeks ago the high school musicians would miss their annual appearance.
Band leader for Lenox Memorial Middle and High School, Jonathan Cade said the younger students were thrilled to showcase their talent.
"They weren't nervous, they loved it," Cade said. The sixth- and seventh-graders enjoyed marching in the parade while the eight graders helped set [at Town Hall.]"
The parade participants and hundreds of attendees gathered around the monument for the remembrance ceremony to honor all who served – some giving their life – defending their country.
Keynote speaker, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Lawrence Casey praised all who have answered the call of duty since the American Revolution.
"To this very day, our men and women now make the sacrifice against the war on terrorism," said the Lenox native currently residing in Windham N.H.
Casey noted that "Freedom isn't free," citing the often used idiom that preserving the American way of life has come with a price.
"The departed that came from all walks of life had similar qualities: courage, pride, determination, selflessness and duty," he said.
Casey was accompanied by his daughter, Pittsfield Mayor Linda M. Tyer who proudly introduced her father to the crowd. Tyer acknowledged his military accomplishments, both home and overseas – including Thailand during the Vietnam War -- having followed him as a child from one Air Force base to the next.
"I was the lucky kid whose dad came home safe every night," she said.
The middle school student band concluded the downtown portion of the ceremony with stellar renditions of "America the Beautiful," "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "This is My Country" – all music learned in the past couple of weeks.
The parade reformed and marched onto St. Ann Cemetery for a final tribute to the town's deceased veterans with middle-schoolers Cecilia Kitross and Maxime Leger played "Taps" and Lucy McMahon sang the "The Star Spangled Banner."
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233