Unexpected train enlivens holiday ceremony

LYNDEBOROUGH – Quick action by police and the Lafayette Artillery Company saved the day, and the 1844 brass cannon.

After the usual Memorial Day ceremonies on the common, Artillery members have traditionally fired their cannon several times. The cannon was set up on the railroad tracks near the Village Store. There was a brief panic and some fast moving when the Wilton Scenic Railroad train was heard approaching from Wilton.

Apparently, no one had given the train a thought.

Police Chief Jim Basinas stopped the train while the tracks were quickly cleared.

Nearly perfect weather on Sunday brought out a larger crowd than usual for services and ceremonies that were longer and a little different from the ordinary.

The town has been observing Memorial Day on the Sunday preceding May 30 for as long as anyone can remember. The observance has been coordinated by the Lafayette Artillery Company for many years.

This year, Selectman Lorraine Strube served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the program held on the common after the parade.

Much of the observance is ritual, but this year there were a few additions – a group of N.H. Sea Cadets joined the ceremonies for the first time.

The Cadette Girl Scouts conducted a flag-retirement ceremony, properly disposing of several tattered flags. Six-year-old Susannah Lemire sang “God Bless America.”

A person dressed as Abraham Lincoln read the Gettysburg address.

The observances began with services at the Center Church. The Artillery Company’s firing squad held observances in both the Center and South cemeteries.

At 1 p.m., a parade stepped off from the Central School and proceeded to the war memorials for ceremonies, and then returned to the common for the program.

Four World War II veterans, riding in a classic convertible, served as parade marshals. The Artillery Company had a display of artifacts at Citizens’ Hall.