In Rockport, a film of fog swirled in and out over the village, cooling a hot Memorial Day sun as the annual parade and ceremonies were held along Union and Central streets, on the Goose River Bridge overlooking the harbor, and at Amsbury Hill Cemetery.

“It is only right that the people of the U.S. stand along the main streets and pause as a grateful nation amidst flags and wreaths and flowers to pay their respects to those who have sacrificed their lives,” said the Rev. Ralph Miller, speaking to a crowd of citizens who stopped at the town’s memorial outside the Rockport Public Library to pay respects to the fallen.

The Rockport ceremonies officially began several hours earlier, at 8 a.m. in Rockville at the cemetery there, where Vernon Hunter and Pastor David English delivered a few words and a prayer, and Camden Hills Regional High School junior Miles Ingraham played Taps. Then, another ceremony was held at the West Rockport Cemetery, before some participants moved into Camden for that town’s ceremonies, and then traveled back to Rockport Village for an 11 a.m. parade.

“In the midst of remembering the past and those who have fallen, we also think of those men and women who currently serve and are in line of danger,” said the Rev. Miller, in Rockport Village. “Those unnoticed, who at night lay down, worn out by the events of the day in wars that refuse to end…. Those, too, who bear the physical and psychological wounds in body and mind and heart in VA institutions and elsewhere, who know better and can speak with greater honesty about the real costs of war. For they bear its marks and so do their families.”

At the Goose River Bridge, where two Girl Scouts tossed a wreath into the waiting harbor below, the Rev. Miller continued: “On land, on sea and in the air, men and women have died for their country, far from home on distant seas to preserve our freedom. Today we look at our nation divided into left and right. Our history tells us a nation divided cannot stand. It is for us who bow, honoring our dead, to come together to build and strengthen our country by turning from unproductive conflict to cementing relationships and ideals into one common endeavor. In the words of Gandhi, ‘We must become the change we want to see in the world.’ Oh God, may those whom we honor remember this day be at home with you. Amen.”

Miller then led the town in singing “God Bless America” while on the bridge, before the parade moved up to Amsbury Hill Cemetery for a final ceremony and gun salute.