By Sheri Duff
After five days of incessant rain, a beautiful blue sky and the warmth of the sun greeted the nearly 200 community members in attendance for the annual Shelburne Memorial Day tribute on Monday morning, May 27. As in past years, the Memorial Day ceremony began with the presentation of the colors by Shelburne Boy Scout Troop #602 and the musical performance by the Shelburne Community School’s Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Tim Buckingham in his debut performance.
The Rev. David Cray of St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Hinesburg and Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Charlotte offered the invocation, and Town Moderator Tom Little again served as the event’s Master of Ceremony. The event is organized each year though the efforts of Shelburne resident Carroll “Bud” Ockert, with assistance from the Shelburne Professional and Business Association.
This year’s keynote speaker was Alexander Wilde, a Holocaust survivor and veteran of World War II. Wilde eloquently shared remembrances of his family and their life in Vienna before Nazi Germany invaded Austria, their futile attempts to reunite during the war, and their successful reunion following the war. At age 90, Wilde continues to grant as many speaking engagements as possible, never turning down an opportunity to share his story. Suffice it to say he captured the attention and imagination of the entire audience.
After a standing ovation for Wilde’s address, and an additional piece performed by the Wind Ensemble, members of the B Battery, 101st Field Artillery Vermont National Guard offered a canon salute, followed by the playing of “Taps,” performed by Isaac Solheim of the Wind Ensemble. Before Rev. David Cray led the benediction, Boy Scout Drew Major informed those assembled that the Shelburne Troop would attend the Omaha Beach Camporee in Normandy, France next April (see accompanying article on page 6 for details) after which veterans in the audience were invited to stand in front of the stage to be recognized and thanked by those in attendance.
Three memorial wreaths were then placed at the Town’s memorial sites by the Boy Scouts: the entrance to the Pierson Building, where the names of those who served in World War I are inscribed; the Town Hall entrance, which is a memorial to World War II veterans; the Pierson Building flag pole, which commemorates the Shelburne residents service in the Korean and Vietnam wars.