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Nashoba Publishing/John Love
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ben Mountain salutes as the national anthem is sung by Tom Farnsworth on Memorial Day.
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Correspondent

PEPPERELL — There was a strong turnout for the Memorial Day parade and ceremonies on the town common. People sat in lawn chairs on the sidewalk and blankets on the lawn. Some sported patriotic T-shirts; others waved tiny facsimiles of Old Glory. Some walked the parade route up Main Street, with a stop in the cemetery for a ceremonial wreath-laying, Taps and traditional military rifle salute.

At a booth in front of the Community Church, volunteers sold coffee and doughnuts, donated by Hannaford Supermarkets. Proceeds went to the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOC) in Gardner, said Linda Mangini, who organized the sale with the church pastor, Rev. Priscilla Lawrence. They raised $266 for the center at last year’s parade, she said.

Across the common, kids sat on the granite bench that encircles the Civil War monument, with its bronze plaque and roster of Pepperell men killed in the battle of Bunker Hill: Jeremiah Shattuck, Nathaniel Parker, William Warren, Wainright Fisk, Ebenezer Laughton, Joseph Spaulding, Benjamin Wood and Edmund Pierce. Nearby, under the trees, Burton Lynde and his wife, Doris, waited for the parade.

Lynde served in the Army for two years during World War II.

“I was in the Pacific, Philippines,” Lynde said. He and Doris — whose relatives include Bloods and Shattucks — have lived in town for 39 years. A member of the American Legion and VFW, Lynde said he used to march in the parade with other veterans. Now he’s with them in spirit as he watches from the sidelines.

On the other side of the street, Richard Vance and his wife, Thelma, had front row seats. He was in the Army Security Agency during the Korean War, trained as a crypt-analyst at Fort Devens and stationed in Seoul, Korea, he said. Decoding was an interesting job that he could have continued as a civilian, but didn’t. The Army asked, he said, but his wife didn’t like the idea. The couple, married 54 years in July, have lived in town for 43 years and have never missed a Memorial Day parade, they said.

Ed Schlimgen and Tony Campano were parked further down, past the library. Ed sat in a lawn chair; his friend in a motorized get-around. Tony lives in Pepperell while Ed recently moved over the line into Hollis, N.H. Both are veterans. Ed spent 26 years in the Army and served during Vietnam. Tony served two years active duty and 24 years in the Army Reserves. He’s lived in town for 40 years.

Meanwhile, at the booth, volunteer Georgette Rogers sold bargain-priced patriotic trinkets to raise money for MVOC and help folks get “parade ready.” The pastor picked up the assortment of red-white-and-blue beads, earrings, flag fans and other items at yard sales, she said. A flag lapel pin was just 50 cents.

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