Caribou honors fallen soldiers during Memorial Day parade, ceremony

2 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — For the first time since before the pandemic, hundreds of community members joined local veterans organizations in paying tribute to soldiers who gave their lives in sacrifice for their country.

On Monday, May 30, families gathered along Sweden and Main Street to watch the city’s first Memorial Day parade since 2019. Caribou police officers and firefighters led the way as members of the Caribou VFW Post 9389, American Legion Post 15, Girl Scout Troop 192, Caribou Little League baseball teams and local pageant queens waved to the crowds.

Caribou VFW Post 9389 Commander Roger Felix said that the return of the parade is one of many ways that he and fellow community members wish to honor those who have served and died for their country.

Members of the Caribou High School band march in the Memorial Day parade. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

“[The parade] is very exciting and long overdue,” Felix said. “These patriots represented the best of us and we owe it to them to come together and remember them, so nobody forgets that freedom comes with a price.”

The parade ended at the Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street, with numerous people staying to attend the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

Felix and American Legion Post 15 Commander Wayne Little read the names of 27 veterans from Caribou and surrounding towns who have died since Memorial Day 2021.

Those people include: Jimmy L. Brown, Glenn R. Celcer, Kenneth D. Doody, Perry C. Drost Jr., Oreille Dufour, Robert P. Huston, Robert R. Kelly, Ronald L. Jandreau, Arthur LeBlanc, John A. LaJoie, Bernard Lamdry, Boyd A. Lunney, Chester H. Milton, Jacque R. Moore, Reno R. Ouellette, Alcide B. Paradis, Ryan Pinette, Alsyme Raymond Jr., Darrell D. Rouse, Ivan Roy, Emil Russell, Steven D. St. Peter, Earl B. Stone, Richard E. Tauer, Joseph Tinkham Jr., Roland F. Thompson and Bruce A. Woodward.

Members of the Caribou Fire Department and American Legion Auxiliary stand in salute during the Memorial Day ceremony. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Members of the American Legion and VFW posts and auxiliaries, local congressional offices and Gold Star Mother Ruth Bouchard of Caribou each placed wreaths in front of the Civil War memorial statue to honor prisoners of war, veterans and Gold Star families.

Lloyd Woods, national executive committeeman for the Maine American Legion, served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. He began by asking the audience: When you think of Memorial Day, what comes to your mind?

American Legion Post 15 member Cuppy Johndro salutes memorial wreaths alongside Girl Scout Troop 192 during Caribou’s Memorial Day ceremony. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

For Woods, Memorial Day is not about the picnics and barbecues that have become popular during the holiday. Instead, Memorial Day is a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that soldiers have made while striving to keep America free.

“We celebrate Armed Forces Day for those still in uniform and we celebrate Veterans Day for those who have hung up their uniform. But we celebrate Memorial Day for those who never made it out of their uniform,” Woods said. “We must remember the men and women who made it possible for us to be here in peace.”