How a Small Maine Town Beautifully Commemorates Memorial Day

By: Ronda Snyder

The Town of Sidney is a small community in Kennebec County, Maine. It is located between Augusta and Waterville. It’s a quiet farm town surrounded by cities to the north and south. One can expect to stop for cow crossings, come up behind tractors on the roads and see horses, llamas, alpacas, goats and oreo cows as you drive throughout town. Most importantly, you will see Sidney residents honor and respect our veterans every day but particularly on Memorial Day.

Sidney has a very small parade made up of veterans, fire and rescue vehicles, the Boy and Girl Scouts, and antique cars, etc. The parade committee is headed by veteran Jeff Frost and includes the following parade committee members: Roberta Drummond, Maura Gammans, Dave Shaw and Arlene Toulouse. They did a fantastic job organizing the parade and especially the ceremony following the parade.

Photo by Amber Bragg
Photo by Amber Bragg
Photo by Amber Bragg

The Master of Ceremonies was Brigadier General, Diane L. Dunn. She is the first female from Maine to be promoted to General. She replaced the former longtime Master of Ceremonies and filled his shoes exceedingly well.

Brigadier General Diane L. Dunn (Photo by Amber Bragg)

The Invocation was given by Pastor Chrissy Cataldo of Sidney. She is the Pastor of the Winthrop Congregational Church.

Invocation by Pastor Chrissy Cataldo (Photo by Amber Bragg)

After the parade there was a presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 401, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem, which was sung by the Messalonskee High School Mastersingers, Cliff Young spoke about his father Raymond Young, a WWII veteran.

Messalonskee High School Mastersingers (Photo by Amber Bragg)
Photo by Amber Bragg
Presentation of Colors Boy Scout Troop 401
(Photo by Amber Bragg)

An honor that is unique to Sidney is the presentation of the Veteran’s Honor Quilt which was made by Simone Kramer and presented to veteran, Roger Routhier.

Roger Routhier being presented with the Veteran’s Honor Quilt (photo by Amber Bragg)
Honor Quilt Presentation (Photo by Kristy Spears)

The Spirit of America Foundation Tribute was incorporated in Maine in 1990. Since then, this Award has been presented in the name of Maine Municipalities to over 500 local individuals, organizations or projects for outstanding community service. It was my honor on behalf of the Town of Sidney to present this year’s recipient, Dale Blethen, with the 2022 Spirit of America work for his lifetime of community service. I am joined by Richard Jandreau who is Sidney’s Fire Chief and last year’s recipient of the Spirit of America Award.

Selectman Ronda Snyder and Fire Chief Richard Jandreau
presenting the Spirit of America Award
(Photo by Amber Bragg)
Dale Blethen 2022Spirit of America Award Recipient (Photo by Amber Bragg)

Following the presentation of the Spirit of America Award, Girl Scout Troop 408 placed a wreath to commemorate those who selflessly gave their lives protecting our country.

Girl Scouts from Troop 408 Placing the Wreath for Memorial Day Ceremony (Photo by Amber Bragg)
Girls from Girl Scout Troop 408 Placing Wreath (Photo by Kristy Spears

Before the ceremony and throughout the ceremony, the Kennebec Valley Chordsmen sang various song selections in between speakers at the event.

Kennebec Valley Chordsman (Photo by Amber Bragg)

The Benediction was given by Reverend Sungmin Jeon, Pastor of the Oakland-Sidney Methodist Church.

Benediction by Rev. Jeon (Photo by Kristy Spears)

Lastly, Taps was played by Daniel Leonard, a student at the Maine Arts Academy located in Sidney. Leonard played a heartfelt rendition of Taps that stirred many emotions in the crowd. Leonard stood back, slightly hidden away from most of the crowd, behind the Grange Hall. While he played Taps hidden from view, it carried over the ceremony area which made it even more impactful and hauntingly beautiful.

As mentioned in the beginning, Sidney is a small town in central Maine. Its citizens showed up in large numbers to show respect for those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Photo by Amber Bragg
Photo by Amber Bragg
Photo by Amber Bragg

While many smaller communities don’t have Memorial Day ceremonies, The Town of Sidney continues to carry on with its tradition of honoring those men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. They also fought for the freedoms instilled by our Constitution. We, as citizens, must now also work to maintain those freedoms for once they are lost it is nearly impossible to get them back. We should do this to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom. We should not squander away those rights which were fought for with the lives of our fellow Americans.

I am proud of Sidney residents and their unwavering respect and honor for those souls lost fighting for the United States of America.

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3 thoughts on “How a Small Maine Town Beautifully Commemorates Memorial Day”

  1. Carol Kemmerer

    Informative article accompanied by beautiful pictures. How fortunate are the residents of Sidney to have dedicated citizens who organized an exceptional Memorial Day experience!

  2. I just absorbed the news article above with pride as a ‘son’ of Sidney and retired Army veteran. I was born and grew up in Sidney and joined the Army as our country was battling itself over the Vietnam War, while I neither supported or denounced the war I filled my need to serve. After a few ‘non-Maine’ Winters I decided to remain on active duty for 23 years ending up my military assignments at Fort Hood, TX. I have recently been communicating with BG Dunn, Clifford Young and his sister, Sharon. Our 50th High School graduation reunion is in the planning stages and set to occur in August 2023. Reading and viewing the wonderful images of Mainers celebrating us of the Military Services I submit my humble thanks and appreciation of us and our deeds over the decades albeit not in Sidney….my Hometown for Hero’s. Thank you all for your efforts. Remain safe, remain strong, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen Judkins (Retired)

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