Brunswick-Topsham Memorial Day Committee chair Tasha Connors, center, films a Memorial Day ceremony at the Brunswick Mall Wednesday that will be part of a pre-recorded program that will play on local cable channels on Memorial Day. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The coronavirus pandemic has forced the Brunswick-Topsham Memorial Day Committee to cancel its traditional parade. Organizers and veterans still plan to honor fallen members of the U.S. armed forces this Memorial Day.

Topsham and Brunswick American Legions are preparing a prerecorded video that would air on local TV stations in Brunswick and Topsham on Memorial Day, according to Tasha Connors, chairwoman of the Brunswick-Topsham Memorial Day Committee.

“We do want to make sure that we honor the day and those we have lost, in a safe way,” Connors said.

Memorial Day parades in Freeport, Bath and Durham have also been canceled but alternative events are being planned to recognize fallen members of the U.S. armed services on Memorial Day.

Maine has limited social gatherings to 50 people starting in June through to the end of August. Most summer fairs and festivals have already canceled their events for 2020.

American Legion Post 20 members Read Rich, left, and Joe Donahue are filmed speaking at the memorial on the Brunswick Mall Wednesday for a pre-recorded program that will be broadcast on local television in Memorial Day. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

Wednesday, members of the American Legion George T. Files Post 20 of  Brunswick wore face coverings and gathered at the veterans memorial in the Brunswick Mall with the Brunswick police and Two Bridges Regional Jail honor guards to record part of the Memorial Day program.

David Watson, commander of the Brunswick legion, said legionnaires and the parade committee are “trying to do the right thing in honor of our veterans and memorialize those veterans who have passed away and given their self-sacrifice to us, our country, our way of life.”

Watson said it’s important to honor veterans, and the video will allow the public to still see those important traditions that have always been part of Memorial Day. That includes the tossing of a wreath from the Frank J. Wood Bridge into the Androscoggin River between Topsham and Brunswick, speakers and posting of wreaths at memorials in both towns.

American Legion Corey Edwin Garver Post 202 in Topsham will also prerecord ceremonies as part of the program, Connors said. The legions will also do short flag-raising ceremonies at noon on Memorial Day at the memorial near the Topsham town office and on the Brunswick Mall. People are welcome to drive by but are not encouraged to stop or get out of their vehicles.

Connors said local boy scouts and girls scouts plan to place flags at the graves of veterans at Brunswick cemeteries.

Like Brunswick and Topsham, Freeport’s parade organizers are filming the speakers and performers that would normally be part of the parade and public observances. The program will air on the town’s community cable channel and be posted on its Facebook page at 10 a.m. on May 25.

“Memorial Day is always a very significant day in Freeport, but now more than ever being able to continue our important traditions mean so much,” said Johanna Hanselman, the General Assistance Administrator for Freeport.

The American Legion Smith Tobey Post 21 normally organizes a Memorial Day Parade in Bath and holds a ceremony after by the memorial at Library Park. Commander Ed Morton said Monday the legion won’t hold a parade this year either.

While it is disappointing, “We’ll do what we’ve got to do our veterans,” he said.

 

Brunswick American Legion members Joe Donahue, center, and David Watson are filmed laying a wreath in front of the veterans memorial so the footage can be aired on local television on Memorial Day. At left is Read Rich. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

The Brunswick Police Honor Guard participates in a filmed Memorial Day ceremony in Brunswick Wednesday so it can be broadcast on local television on May 25. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

Comments are not available on this story.