South Buxton Cemetery Association will pay tribute to its war veterans with a ceremony Saturday. Pictured, from left, are association President Richard Atkinson and board members Chad Poitras and Brent Hill. Robert Lowell / American Journal

A Wreaths Across America ceremony will be held Saturday in Buxton in conjunction with the annual laying of wreaths on veteran’s graves in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

In Westbrook, American Legion Post 62 will also honor veterans with wreaths Saturday with a ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Gorham Police Sgt. Ted Hatch and Officer Dean Hannon last weekend escorted a convoy of trucks carrying wreaths from Harrington through Maine bound for Virginia. The convoy, with stops and ceremonies along the way, is due to arrive at Arlington at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Volunteers will place the wreaths on veterans graves at the South Buxton Cemetery on River Road at Tory Hill from 9-11:30 a.m. in advance of a ceremony at 11:45.

South Buxton Cemetery Association President Richard “Sandy” Atkinson was concerned about a shortfall of wreaths about two weeks ago, when they expected to receive only about 300 wreaths for the cemetery’s more than 500 veterans’ graves. Orders for wreaths, costing $17 each, were “slower coming in this year,” he said.  But on Monday, Wreaths Across America delivered 468 wreaths, 28 more than last year.

The Buxton Fire and Police departments honor guard will open the ceremony. Bagpiper Travis Cote will play and Chad Poitras, a director of the cemetery association and a member of the town Select Board, will lead the Pledge of  Allegiance and deliver opening remarks.

The Rev. Daryl Lavway,  a retired minister who lives in Porter, will recite a prayer of remembrance before a moment of silence at noon that will also be observed at that time at more than 4,000 other Wreaths Across America ceremonies across the nation.

Starvo Nashi of Saco,  a retired U.S. Marine Corps  major, will give the keynote address following the National Anthem and preceding a wreath laying for each service branch and a gun salute by the Southern Maine  Marine Corps League honor guard.

Capping the ceremony, Mel Tukey will play Taps and Revolutionary War re-enactor Gil Olivarez will fire a musket salute. Atkinson will provide closing remarks.

Wreaths Across America in Westbrook will be observed at Veterans Rest in Woodlawn Cemetery on Stroudwater Street with a ceremony at noon.

“As in past ceremonies there will be seven wreaths placed on Shepherd’s hooks including one for each service branch – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines along with one for prisoners of war and those missing in action,” said Dennis Marrotte, commander of American Legion Post 62.

Wreaths also will be placed on 39 graves at Veterans Rest, he said.

Gorham’s Police Sgt. Ted Hatch and Officer Dean Hannon escorted a Wreaths Across America convoy through Maine. From left, are, Hatch, driver Derrick Whittle of Cargo Transporters and Richard Langlais, chairman of the Southern Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Association in Springvale. Contributed / Sgt. Ted Hatch

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