Boots on the Ground returns to Knox Museum

May 09, 2014
An attendee at 2012’s Boots on the Ground thanks, from left, Army Chaplain (ret.) Rev. James Robbins, Museum docent and World War II veteran Harry Grant, and Vietnam veteran Commander Ronald A. Rainfrette for their service.

Thomaston — Knox Museum will kick off the 2014 season with its third annual Boots on the Ground, a Memorial Day Weekend community event honoring America’s veterans and active military personnel and their families Saturday, May 24, at 11 a.m.

The event takes place on the grounds of Montpelier, the big white house just off Route 1 at the turn to Saint George in Thomaston. Capt. Brian D. Perkins, United States Coast Guard (ret.), will give the keynote address. Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

A dress parade begins the proceedings at 11 a.m. Color guards, rifle units, veterans, active military, re-enactors, Scouts, drum and bugle corps, and costumed Montpelier docents are all invited to gather directly behind Montpelier and march around to the flagpole in front of the building where spectators and special guests will be seated. Parade participation is open to all, and those wishing to march should arrive by 10:30 a.m. and check in with American Legion Department of Maine Second Vice Commander Ronald A. Rainfrette, who will serve as master of ceremonies for Boots on the Ground again this year.

Following the parade, a color guard raises the flag, soloist Harry Grant performs the National Anthem, and some brief speeches, prayers, and tributes are given leading up to Capt. Perkins' address. Ceremonies conclude with a wreath being laid for the fallen in the name of Henry Knox, who served as Chief of Artillery under George Washington in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and later as General in the United States Army.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies Tenants Harbor Masons and Knox Museum personnel will serve lunch, some of which is provided by generous donations from Hannaford, along with Jim Barstow and the Masons.

Funding for Boots on the Ground is provided by Allen Insurance and Financial, Lorinda and Bradley Boyd, Patrick and Carol Cardon, Jim and Kathy Cuthbertson, and Holly Boyd and Nicholas Ruffin. Applebee’s has also provided two $25 gift certificates to be given out in a free drawing.

Midcoast Community Band, under the direction of Joanne Parker, will provide the musical entertainment, and there will be lawn games set up for children.

Montpelier opens for tours for the season at 10 a.m. on May 24. As a member of Blue Star Museums, Montpelier offers free admission to active military families all season long, and will additionally offer free military-themed tours for veterans and their families following Boots on the Ground. And for those unable to navigate Montpelier’s stairs, costumed docents will circulate during lunch to answer questions and share stories about Henry Knox and his service.

Montpelier will be open for tours regularly each week on Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Regular 2014 tour admission is adults $10, seniors and AAA $8, children aged 5-13 $4, children under 5 are free, and there is a flat family rate of $20.

Boots on the Ground will go on rain or shine, and attendees are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Some seating will be provided. For more information visit knoxmuseum.org or contact info@knoxmuseum.org or 354-8062.

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