North Yarmouth veterans park to unveil statue on Memorial Day

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Five years after it gained a new lease on life, Veterans Memorial Park is marking Memorial Day with a new statue.

The unveiling will happen during a 3 p.m. ceremony Monday, May 27, at the corner of Memorial Highway (Route 9) and Parsonage Road. Joseph Reagan of Easterseals Maine will be the guest speaker.

North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corp. hopes the statue will draw attention, President Eric Robinson said in an interview May 15. “It’s all with the purpose of trying to get people here and involved,” he said.

Because the group wants the statue’s appearance to be a surprise, he preferred not to provide a photo of the piece.

The statue, when mounted on a new stone already at the park, will stand about five feet off the ground. A plaque dedicated to the five branches of military service – the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy – will be placed on the stone, too.

“It’s something that we tried to pick that would specifically identify the (corporation’s) mission statement,” said Robinson, who served in the Navy from 1979-1985. “… We felt it was important to have something here that identified the corporation and the reason the park’s here.”

Another new plaque, with that mission statement, will be mounted on another stone at the park, near the entrance to the Henry N. Sweetser Trail.

The statement reads in part that the park is intended to honor North Yarmouth citizens “who have served in the defense of their country and to perpetuate their names and the record of their service; to provide a suitable place or places for the display of memorials and keep them in repair; (and) to teach and develop the principals of patriotism, thrift, self-reliance, public service, and reverence.”

“We tried to keep that in mind when we chose the statue, because … we want to represent all the armed services,” Robinson noted.

A donation from Patriot Insurance funded the $3,200 statue and plaque.

The 5-acre park was created in 1949 on land provided by Henry Sweetser. Concern over the park’s future led a group of community members in 2014 to form a new board of directors, new officers, and a new set of bylaws, which the North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corp. uses to govern the park.

Robinson was tapped as president, and his brother Kevin became a member of the board. Their work earned them the town’s 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award.

The group had 42 members a few years ago, and now has 27, partly due to older members dying, Robinson said. People interested in joining can reach him at 449-7923 or [email protected]. More information is available at northyarmouthveteransmemorialpark.org.

The corporation meets again at Toddy Brook Cafe, 925 Sligo Road, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, and the public is invited.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Eric Robinson, president of the North Yarmouth Memorial Park Corp., near where a statue will be unveiled on Memorial Day, May 27.

Memorial Day in the region

In Cumberland, a “Kids Fun Run” will be held on the Greely High School track at 8 a.m., followed by a “5K Run & Remember Race” and a 10 a.m. Main Street parade. A monument ceremony will be held at Moss Side Cemetery at 10:30 a.m.

Falmouth’s parade starts at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Post at 65 Depot Road, and continues to Pine Grove Park, 34 Foreside Road. A ceremony will be held there, including performances by bands and choruses from Falmouth Middle and High schools. Refreshments will be served at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Veterans are welcome to march or ride in Falmouth’s parade.

In Freeport, the parade begins at 9:30 a.m., heading down Main Street to Memorial Park on Bow Street, where a 10 a.m. ceremony will be held.

Yarmouth’s parade departs Yarmouth High School at 10 a.m., proceeding along West Elm Street to Main Street, and turning right to conclude on the Town Green, near Town Hall. Norm Newell, commander of the AMVETS Post in Yarmouth, is the speaker. Merrill Memorial Library will be closed Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27 in observance of the holiday.

Alex Lear

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.