MOUNT DESERT ISLAND—For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Memorial Day observances to be scaled back and simplified. The biggest change will be the absence of parades in Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor.
The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Memorial Day remembrance ceremony at the Village Green at 10 a.m. Members of the Bar Harbor fire and police departments will be in attendance, and Secretary of State Shenna Bellows will be the guest speaker. Limited seating will be made available, but those attending may wish to bring their own chair.
In lieu of its usual public ceremony at the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker on Route 3 near the head of the Island, the Bar Harbor Garden Club will place a weatherproof bin at the site on Memorial Day. The public is invited to stop by anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to leave a written message in the bin honoring the nation’s military veterans. These messages will be archived and displayed at the Veterans Day observance at the same site in November.
Route 3 is one of the roads in Maine that have been designated as Blue Star Memorial Highways in tribute to the men and women who have served in the armed forced. The National Council of State Garden Clubs started the program in 1945, just after the end of World War II.
American Legion Post 103 will hold a brief ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Memorial Day at the Veterans Memorial Park at the Northeast Harbor Marina. The public is invited to attend.
American Legion Post 69 will hold a brief ceremony at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day at the Village Green between Main Street and the municipal parking lot. The public is invited to attend.
Origin of Memorial Day
A day for honoring those who died fighting in the Civil War was observed in a number of cities and towns across the country starting in the late 1860s. It was originally known as Decoration Day because, in 1868, U.S. General John Logan called for a day in May to be “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.”
Over the years, Decoration Day came to be known as Memorial Day. And during World War I, it became a day to pay tribute to American service members who died in all wars, not just the Civil War.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971.