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They say it takes a village to raise a child but sometimes it takes a town like Shirley to show their children what a great and grateful nation we live in. Memorial Day programs this year were an example of this.

The commander starts preparations for Memorial Day well before the actual day. The Honor Society from Ayer High School volunteered to clean up around the War Memorial Building. The Leadership Program from Ayer High School placed American flags on all the graves of departed servicemen and women in all three cemeteries in Shirley. Old flags are replaced in the parks and cemeteries and flowers ordered to place at the towns monuments. Children learn new songs to sing at the annual third-grade program held at the Lura White School the Friday before Memorial Day. The list goes on and on.

Then the annual Memorial Day Poppy Drive, the donations this year going to Canines for Combat Veterans and because of this an election to pick a name for a puppy that will go into this program when the dog is done its training in two years. The winner’s name is Trooper.

We also are proud to say we not only raised enough money to name a puppy but also enough to go to a wounded combat veteran from Mass. who will be receiving a dog in the near future. Fifteen containers were placed at local businesses around Shirley and people could vote and make a donation if they wished. Members of the American Legion Auxiliary took donations on the 22nd and 23rd of May while explaining the meaning of the Poppy’s history.

This year the town of Shirley due to the economy decided not to fund the Memorial Day programs. American Legion Post 183 members realized they could not let this happen and asked for donations from their members, town businesses and held numerous fundraisers so that Memorial Day programs would still be held.

The great attendance of children, parents and young adults who attended the programs at Shirley Center and at Whitely Park were the largest that they have been in years. This could be due to the fact that people realized what they and their children almost lost and how much it means to them.

Traditions and history are important to a society and a country. Your presence last Sunday showed you will not forget the past and present cost of our freedom and the meaning of Duty, Honor, and Country.

May the day come when the world is at peace but we can never forget the people who have gone before us.

A special thanks to the Immaculate Band from Still River, this year marking 20 years of attending the Memorial Day Parade in Shirley. Thanks to the Ayer High School Leadership Color Guard, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cubs and Brownies. the Shirley Youth Baseball and Softball teams; the Police and Firemen and Selectman, and of course, all the serviceman and women and veterans past and present who made this a great day.

COMMANDER BUD DECELL

American Legion Post 183

Shirley

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